North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Test

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With North Korea recently conducting its third nuclear test, Carnegie experts assess Pyongyang’s nuclear capability and the security, geopolitical, and technological implications of this latest provocation.
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With North Korea recently conducting its third nuclear test, Carnegie experts are available to assess Pyongyang’s nuclear capability and the security, geopolitical, and technological implications of this latest provocation. 

To request an interview, please contact Charita Law at or +1 202 939 2233.

Here are rapid reactions from Carnegie's global experts: 

"North Korea's third test appears to be larger than its first two, but not dramatically so. In the coming hours and day, watch to see better yield estimates, whether the weapon was made from plutonium or uranium, and whether there will be a second test."

James M. Acton


"At a time when the United States is poised to cut defense spending further, and the new defense secretary nominee has advocated in the past for reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, questions in Tokyo and Seoul about the long-term sustainability of the U.S. nuclear umbrella will arise anew. The fact is that the United States still has the capability to reassure its allies on this front, but it will require constant bilateral attention and the development of even closer defense relationships to maintain deterrence in this new nuclear age. Now is not the time for allies to think they need to go it alone." 

James L. Schoff


"In the past North Korea had no choice but to deplete its small and finite inventory of plutonium to test nuclear weapons. Today and in the future, an unchecked and growing enrichment capability in North Korea is a game changer because it will allow Pyongyang to indefinitely stockpile highly enriched uranium fuel for an ever-larger nuclear weapons arsenal."

Mark Hibbs


"In terms of what the nuclear test says about the behavior of the new North Korean government, does the test consolidate Kim Jong Un's power and allow him to pursue new six-party negotiations? Or does it foretell a hardening of security policy and therefore mean more provocations in the near future? It's too soon to tell."

Toby Dalton


"The test shows that the North Korean government has strong and blind faith in the coercive influence of its nuclear-weapons capability. This is the wrong approach for its country and people."

Li Bin


"North Korea's effort to impress its potential clients with its nuclear and missile prowess has reached new heights with the recent long-range missile test and the current nuclear test."

Ariel Levite


"The test will likely cause certain voices in Japan to ramp up calls for the development of a next-generation ballistic missile defense system with the United States. A new system could trigger the expansion of armaments of both North Korea and China, which could cause instability in East Asia. It is highly recommended that the United States stays calm and encourages Japan not to overreact to North Korea's nuclear test." 

Tomoko Kurokawa

End of document

In Fact



of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.


of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.


charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.


thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.


of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.


trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.


of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.


of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.


of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.


of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.


U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.


of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.


million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.


of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.


of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

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