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[Korea Quiz] North Korea and nukes

By Korea Herald

Published : July 12, 2023 - 13:24

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Being one of the poorest countries in the world, North Korea for decades focused on developing capabilities for asymmetric warfare against far more powerful and wealthier countries.

This meant development of nuclear weapons and missiles that could deliver them to hit enemies across the ocean.

While its nuclear ambition could be traced back to the 1960s, it was not until the 1980s that its nuclear program took off. After back-and-forth with members of the international community about its compliance to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, it denounced the NPT in 2003 and conducted its first nuclear test in 2006.

As for the missiles, the communist state’s efforts to develop and master the technology date back to the 1970s, with the test-firing of its first Scud-B missile in 1984. Since then, it has conducted an array of ballistic missile tests including what it claims to be an intercontinental ballistic missile called Hwasong-17.

Pyongyang has claimed that its weaspons program is for self-defense, as it faces military threats from the nuclear-armed US, its chief adversary.

In November of last year, North Korea conducted what is believed to be its first successful test launch of its Hwasong-17 ICBM, which has a maximum range of 15,000 kilometers that theoretically puts the entire continental US within its reach. Whether a nuclear-armed North Korean ICBM could successfully fly across the Pacific is unknown as of now, since the test-launches were conducted at a lofted angle that allowed it to only fly 1,000 kilometers.

Answer: a)