Global Challenges

North Korea's nuclear tests, their yield and magnitude
Note: Yield in 1,000 tonnes (kt) TNT equivalent.
Magnitude (mb): Strength of the seismic waves triggered by the nuclear test.
Source of Data: Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), ROK Ministry of National Defence.
Source of Visualization: © 2018 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), CSIS Missile Defense Project, https://i2.wp.com/missilethreat.csis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/North-Korea-Nuclear-Test_V1_reduced.jpg

North Korea poses a challenge to the international community in many respects. The North Korean regime violates international norms and treaties, refuses to obey UN Security Council decisions and commits serious human rights violations. With its short- and medium-range missiles, North Korea threatens neighbouring states. North Korean long-range ballistic missiles can probably reach Europe and the United States as well. In addition to conventional weapon systems, Pyongyang very likely also has biological and chemical warfare agents. North Korea thus challenges multilateral regimes concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and is the only country to have declared its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Furthermore, North Korea’s activities in cyberspace present a complex and new challenge.

It is in the interests of Germany and the European Union to sustainably and peacefully deal with the multiple challenges mentioned above. Although not directly involved in the conflict and its regional resolution, they nevertheless influence the actors to the conflict in various ways. The final chapter of the SWP Research Paper Facets of the North Korea Conflict: Actors, Problems and Europe’s Interests deals with the role of Germany and the EU with regard to the North Korean conflict and suggests a number of policies they could pursue.

A chart of the chronology of North Korean missile tests from 1984 to 2017 can be found in the SWP Research Paper Facets of the North Korea Conflict: Actors, Problems and Europe’s Interests.

An overview of North Korea’s cyber activities complements the chapter Cyberspace: Asymmetric Warfare and Cyber-Heists in the SWP Research Paper Facets of the North Korea Conflict: Actors, Problems and Europe’s Interests.

Publications

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Hanns Günther Hilpert, Frédéric Krumbein

Human Rights in North Korea: A European Perspective

in: The Journal of East Asian Affairs, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 2016), pp. 67-92
Hanns Günther Hilpert, Oliver Meier

Charting a New Course on North Korea’s Nuclear Programme?

The Options and the Non-Proliferation Treaty

SWP Comment 2013/C 19, June 2013, 7 Pages
Hanns Günther Hilpert

End Game in North Korea: Will Kim III Endure?

in: Barbara Lippert, Volker Perthes (eds.)
Expect the Unexpected

Ten Situations to Keep an Eye On

Contributions to Research Papers 2012/RP 01, January 2012, 49 Pages, S. 43-47
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SWP Research Papers