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How do you solve a problem like Korea ?

A dramatic increase in rhetoric emerging from the North Korean leadership in recent months has fuelled concerns over exactly what the country’s nuclear capabilities are and whether it is prepared to use them. The secretive and internationally-isolated state has threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the USA and go to war with its neighbours on the Korean peninsula. In the absence of official diplomatic channels between North Korea and most of the rest of the world, and with the lack of any independently verifiable information from the country, it is the uncertainty and the unpredictability of the regime led by Kim Jong-un that is unsettling diplomats, citizens and international financial markets.

Just how serious is the nuclear threat posed by North Korea? Is the belligerent rhetoric to be believed? Join euronews’ coverage, the news and analysis of the unfolding situation in the Korean peninsula.


Democratic Republic of North Korea

North Korea
  • Supreme Leader: Kim Jong-un
    (17 December 2011 – Incumbent)
    World’s youngest head of state
  • Independent since 1948
    (after Korea war and 3 years of Sovietic rule)
  • Area: 120.408 km2
  • Population: 24.720.407
    (estimation July 2013)
  • Life expectancy: 69 years
  • GDP: $40 billion (2010 est.)
Sources : CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Wikipedia

Estimates of North Korea military power

  • 1 000 missiles in any reach: Rodong-1 (reach 1 300 km), Taepodong-1 (2 500 km) tested and successful ; Musudan-1 (3 000 km+) never publicly tested ; Taepondong-2 (6 700 km+) failed

    NK missiles range
  • The ballistic capacity allows Pyongyang to equip its missiles with conventional and chemical charges. No ability to mate a nuclear head to one of those missiles yet
  • At least three nuclear sites; three nuclear tests (2006, 2009, March 2013). The regime could own enough plutonium for at least six nuclear bombs

    NK military power
  • Chemical weapons: anthrax, sulfur mustard, sarin, phosgene… (estimated in between 2500 and 5000 tons). A bacteriological weapon program under development but the stage has remained unknown so far
  • 13 500 tons of artillery, 70 submarines, 420 warships and 820 warplanes
  • Troops gather more than a million soldiers and reach almost eight millions in store