South Korean activist wearing a mask of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un Jung Yeon Je/Getty Images

Ten Lessons from North Korea’s Nuclear Program

Many governments are now debating how to prevent or slow further advances in North Korea’s capacity to produce and deliver nuclear weapons, and what should be done if such efforts fail. But while these are obviously important questions, they are not the only ones.


SEOUL – North Korea has produced a number of nuclear warheads and is developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering them around the world. Many governments are debating how to prevent or slow further advances in North Korea’s capacity and what should be done if such efforts fail.

These are obviously important questions, but they are not the only ones. It also is important to understand how North Korea has succeeded in advancing its nuclear and missile programs as far as it has, despite decades of international efforts. It may be too late to affect North Korea’s trajectory decisively; but it is not too late to learn from the experience. What follows are ten lessons that we ignore at our peril.

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