"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Author, "African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement"
July 1, 2020
Fact Sheets & Briefs

Restoring the JCPOA’s Nuclear Limits

In 2019, one year after former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reimposed sanctions on Iran in violation of the deal, Iran began to breach limits under the accord.

Iranian officials maintain that Iran will reverse its activities that violate the JCPOA and return to full compliance if the other parties to the deal meet their obligations under the accord. Iran’s violations of the JCPOA are largely reversible and could likely be undone within 3 months with sufficient political will.

However, several of Iran’s escalatory breaches have resulted in its acquisition of new knowledge and expertise that cannot be reversed. Also, Iran’s decision to suspend implementation of the additional protocol and other JCPOA-specific safeguards measures could create gaps in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s monitoring if Tehran chooses to not share recorded data with the agency upon restoration of the accord, even if Iran otherwise returns to full compliance with the JCPOA.

The following is a summary of the steps necessary to rectify Iran’s current breaches of the JCPOA. The steps are listed in the order of Iran’s violations of the JCPOA, beginning with its first breach in May 2019.

  1. Restoring the stockpile limits on enriched uranium and heavy water

    Background: Iran announced in May 2019 that it would no longer observe the JCPOA-imposed stockpile limits of 300 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas (202 kilograms of uranium by weight) enriched 3.67 percent and 130 metric tons of heavy water. The IAEA confirmed that Iran breached the 300-kilogram limit on July 1, 2019, and the heavy water limit in November 2019. As of November 2021, Iran’s stockpile of uranium gas enriched up to 5 percent was about 2,182 kilograms (measured by uranium weight)—roughly 11 times the cap. According to the IAEA’s November 2021 report, Iran has also produced 113.8 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 20 percent, and 17.7 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 60 percent. While Iran’s heavy water stockpile has exceeded the 130 metric ton cap, the IAEA measured the stockpile at 131.4 metric tons in February 2021. The IAEA has not had access to Iran’s heavy water production since February 23, 2021, when Tehran restricted IAEA access under the December 2020 nuclear law. In September 2021, the IAEA noted that there were indications that Iran’s heavy water production plant continued to operate after June 24.

    Restoring Compliance: Iran can reverse its stockpile violations quite quickly. Tehran can either ship out enriched uranium in excess of the 300-kilogram limit of 3.67 percent gas or blend it down to natural levels. Excess heavy water could be used, shipped abroad for storage, or sold, all of which Iran has done in the past to stay below the cap. To help facilitate Iran’s return to compliance, the Biden administration should issue sanctions waivers allowing Tehran to export excess uranium and heavy water. These waivers were revoked by the Trump administration. The United States could also offer to purchase a quantity of heavy water for U.S. applications. The Obama administration did this in the past after deeming Iran’s heavy water of sufficient quality for U.S. purposes.
  2. Restoring the limit on uranium enrichment to no more than 3.67 percent uranium-235

    Background: Iran announced in July 2019 that it would begin enriching uranium up to 4.5 percent, which was immediately confirmed by the IAEA. On Jan. 4, 2021, the agency confirmed that Iran began enriching uranium to 20 percent [uranium-235], and to 60 percent in April 2021 (see below for details). Iran enriched to 20 percent, which constitutes about 90 percent of the effort necessary to enrich to weapons-grade levels, prior to negotiations on the JCPOA.

    Restoring Compliance: Iran will need to halt enrichment to levels above 3.67 percent uranium-235 and recalibrate its centrifuges that were being used to enrich above that level. Given that Iran’s enrichment is monitored in real-time using online enrichment monitors (OLEMs), the IAEA will be able to quickly confirm when Iran halts enrichment above the JCPOA limit. As noted above, material produced above the JCPOA’s limits can be blended down or shipped out.

    Iran justifies its enrichment to 20 percent as necessary to produce uranium fuel for its Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), which produces medical isotopes. The United States should re-issue sanctions waivers that the Trump administration let lapse to allow Iran to import the necessary fuel for the TRR, removing the justification that 20 percent enrichment is necessary.
  3. Returning to compliance with advanced centrifuge limits

    Capping Iran’s Deployment of Centrifuges: Iran is permitted to enrich uranium using 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges for 10 years. This chart does not reflect the advanced-model IR-2m, IR-4, and IR-6 centrifuges Iran has tested, operated, and used for the production of enriched uranium in breach of the accord since 2019. Source: IAEA, JCPOABackground: Iran announced in September 2019 that it would no longer be bound by any research and development limitations on advanced centrifuges imposed by the JCPOA. The deal’s restrictions include a 10-year prohibition on producing enriched uranium using advanced machines and caps on the number and type of advanced centrifuges that Iran can install and operate for testing its designs. Since announcing this breach, Iran has installed full cascades of IR-2, IR-4, and IR-6 machines and is using them to enrich uranium. Iran has also introduced new advanced centrifuges not covered by the JCPOA.

    The nuclear deal does permit Iran to design new centrifuge machines, but  Tehran must receive approval from the Joint Commission before beginning testing.  In what would be a further violation of research limits, a December 2020 nuclear law (see details below) calls for Iranian authorities to install 1,000 IR-2m centrifuges and 1,000 IR-6 centrifuges in 2021. According to the IAEA’s November 2021 report, Iran is operating six cascades of IR- 2m centrifuges (1,044 machines) and two cascades of IR-4s (348 machines) at the main enrichment hall at Natanz. Iran also installed 189 IR-6 machines at Fordow, arranged in two cascades of 166 and 23 machines, and plans to install up to eight total cascades.

    Returning to compliance: To return to compliance with the accord’s limits, Iran will need to dismantle and store under IAEA seal the advanced machines that it installed and is operating outside of the JCPOA’s parameters. It will also need to provide the IAEA with information about the new advanced centrifuges using an agreed-upon template designed by the JCPOA’s Joint Commission. The Joint Commission may also consider when and if Iran will be able to conduct any mechanical testing using those machines, as allowed by the JCPOA.

    While the machines can be dismantled and stored relatively easily, the knowledge Iran has gained about the performance and capacity of its advanced machines is not reversible. This knowledge might have a slight impact on the overall breakout time of 12 months when the deal is fully implemented, but the IAEA would immediately detect any attempt to remove and reinstall the advanced machines. Iran’s testing of so many separate centrifuges design also suggests that the country has not established a designated successor for future enrichment when the JCPOA’s limits on enriching using IR-1s expire. The knowledge gained about advanced centrifuge performance could, however, be taken into account as the U.S. devises its plans for follow-up negotiations on a longer-term nuclear framework.
  4. Halting uranium enrichment at Fordow

    Background: In November 2019, Iran announced it would start enriching uranium up to 4.5 percent at Fordow. Iran continues to enrich uranium at Fordow and, in January 2021, resumed enrichment to 20 percent at the facility. A November 2021 IAEA report confirmed that Iran continued to enrich to 20 percent, using  1,045  IR-1  centrifuges and 189 IR-6  centrifuges.  Under the JCPOA,  Iran is permitted to keep 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges at Fordow, but the deal prohibits from any uranium-related activities at the site for 15 years. As a result of Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at Fordow, efforts to convert the facility to a medical isotope research and development facility as required by the JCPOA, stalled.

    Returning to compliance: To reverse this violation, Iran will need to halt production of enriched uranium using centrifuges at Fordow and remove all uranium from the facility. Iran will also need to remove the piping for the interconnected cascades that it is using for 20 percent enrichment, as that design is prohibited by the JCPOA. Iran may also choose to remove and store centrifuges that had been used for enrichment and replace them with excess IR- 1s currently under storage that are not contaminated with uranium for isotope research and production, which is the intended use of Fordow for 15 years under the JCPOA.

Planned and In-Progress Iranian JCPOA Violations

In an effort to put pressure on the United States and other JCPOA parties to deliver on sanctions relief envisioned by the JCPOA and respond to the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakrizadeh, the Iranian government enacted a law in late December 2020 requiring the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to take a number of steps to further breach the accord in 2021.

  • Limits on Uranium Enrichment (in progress and discussed above

    Background: Iran is required to produce 120 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent uranium-235 on an annual basis under the December 2020 law. The IAEA confirmed that Iran began enriching to this level at Fordow on Jan. 4, 2021. Iran notified the IAEA of its intentions to increase enrichment levels at that site prior to doing so.

    Restoring compliance: Iran could either ship out or blend down its uranium enriched above 3.67 percent uranium-235 and reconfigure the centrifuges being used for enrichment to that level.
  • Limits on Iran’s Use of Advanced Centrifuges (in progress and discussed above) 

    Background: The nuclear law requires Iran to install and operate 1,000 IR-2m centrifuges within three months of the legislation’s enactment (late March 2021) and install 1,000 IR-6 centrifuges by the end of 2021. The IAEA confirmed that Iran had installed 1,044 IR-2m centrifuges at Natanz as of November 2021. Iran also installed 189 IR-6 centrifuges at Fordow, arranged into two cascades of 166 and 23 machines, and plans to install a total of eight IR-6 cascades.

    Restoring compliance: Iran would need to dismantle and store under IAEA seal the excess advanced centrifuges. While Iran will have gained some knowledge about producing and operating these machines, it does not significantly impact the country’s breakout or proliferation risk, given the relatively small number of centrifuges in question and the IAEA’s ability to immediately detect any attempt to access and install the machines.
  • Restrictions on Iran’s Implementation of the Additional Protocol and JCPOA-Specific Verification Measures (planned)

    Background: Iran suspended implementation of the additional protocol to its safeguards agreement and the JCPOA-specific verification mechanisms in February 2021, in accordance with the nuclear law. Iran continues to implement its comprehensive safeguards agreement (CSA), which is required by the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran also continues to record and collect necessary monitoring information for the IAEA, per a Feb. 2021 agreement, and will transmit that data to the agency upon restoration of the JCPOA and after sanctions relief is granted. 

    Restoring Compliance: Iran can notify the IAEA of its intention to adhere to the additional protocol and the JCPOA required verification mechanisms to restore full implementation of the deal’s monitoring mechanisms. While more intrusive inspections could resume quickly after Iran notifies the IAEA, the time required to return to full compliance with these obligations may depend on whether, and how quickly, Iran transmits recorded data to the IAEA, and the extent to which the IAEA can re-construct a narrative of Iran’s nuclear activities during that time based on the data provided.

    The reversibility of this violation also depends on the length of time that Iran is in violation of the obligations and Iran’s willingness to take additional steps/provide information to fill in any gaps that may emerge from the breaks in monitoring. If the measures are suspended for too long, or if Iran chooses to cease the recording and collection of data for the IAEA, or chooses not to transmit it to the agency upon restoration of the JCPOA, it may create gaps in knowledge that could complicate the IAEA’s task of determining if Iran’s nuclear materials remain in peaceful purposes and increase speculation about illicit nuclear activities.
  • Uranium Metal Production (planned)

    Background: The December 2020 law requires the AEOI to “inaugurate the metallic uranium factory” at the Isfahan Fuel Fabrication Plant within five months, or by late May 2021. Iran notified the IAEA of its intentions to begin installing and designing equipment and its plans for producing a new uranium metal fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes. The IAEA verified that Iran produced 2.42 kilograms of natural uranium metal on May 18, 2021. From that, Iran used 0.85 kilograms to produce 0.54 kilograms of uranium in the form of uranium silicide. On October 25, the agency verified that Iran had produced two batches of uranium silicide containing 0.43 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 20 percent. The Agency’s Nov. 17 report confirmed that Iran had completed the four-stage process to produce new fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor and that it had manufactured two fuel plates using uranium silicide containing 0.25 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 20 percent. Iran has produced 17 fuel assemblies for the Tehran Research Reactor, four of which have already been transferred to the reactor, according to the IAEA.

    Restoring Compliance: Iran may have produced a limited amount of uranium metal in the past as part of its pre-2003 nuclear weapons program, but it does not appear to have significant experience with the process. Evidence from the IAEA’s investigations and the material Israel stole from Iran suggest that Iran conducted experiments on producing metal using surrogate materials and was in the process of constructing a uranium metal production facility, but the decision was made to abandon it. The IAEA also had evidence that Iran received a document on how to produce uranium metal in shapes relevant to weapons development from the AQ Khan network. While Iran could quickly uninstall any equipment put in place for this project and ship out any uranium metal produced, the knowledge gained is irreversible and relevant if Iran decided to pursue nuclear weapons in the future.
  • Work on a New Heavy Water Reactor (planned)

    Background: Iran announced plans to build a new heavy-water reactor based on the original design of the unfinished heavy-water reactor at Arak. As originally designed, that reactor would have produced enough plutonium annually that, when separated, would be enough for two nuclear weapons. Iran is prohibited from building new heavy water reactors for 15 years under the JCPOA and from separating plutonium for the same time period.

    Restoring Compliance: While the AEOI has submitted plans for the reactor, construction has not yet begun, making the decision easy to reverse. Even if Iran were to take steps to begin constructing the reactor, it could be dismantled quickly, or the unfinished reactor monitored to ensure Iran does not continue any building activities until the 15-year ban on heavy-water reactors expires.
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The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons At A Glance

Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107: Shizuka Kuramitsu research assistant ext. 104.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), negotiated by more than 130 states, is a good faith effort to meet their responsibility as signatories of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) to pursue effective measures on disarmament. The prohibition treaty further reinforces the commitments of these states against the use, threat of use, development, production, manufacture, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, transfer, stationing, or installation of nuclear weapons. It reinforces states' commitments to the NPT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Although the prohibition treaty by itself will not eliminate any nuclear weapons, the treaty can help to further delegitimize nuclear weapons and strengthen the legal and political norm against their use.

As of December 18, 2023, 93 states have signed the treaty and 69 have ratified it.

The Treaty


The treaty has a 24-paragraph preamble acknowledging the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use and the value of existing international disarmament agreements including the NPT, the CTBT, and nuclear-weapon-free-zone agreements, as well as the “right” of states-parties to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Prohibitions (Article 1)

States-parties are prohibited to use, threaten to use, develop, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer, station, or install nuclear weapons or assist with any prohibited activities.

Declarations (Article 2)

A state-party must declare, when joining the treaty, whether it has eliminated a previous nuclear weapons program, currently has nuclear weapons, or holds another country's nuclear weapons on its territory. If a state has another country’s nuclear weapons on its territory when it signs the treaty, it must remove them. If it has its own nuclear weapons, it must eliminate them.

Safeguards (Article 3)

Non-nuclear-weapon states are required to have, at a minimum, a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “without prejudice” to any future additional agreements.

Nuclear-weapon states accession (Article 4)

There are two ways for a nuclear-weapon state to accede to the treaty and eliminate its nuclear weapons: It can join the treaty and then destroy its nuclear weapons or destroy its nuclear weapons and then join the treaty. States that “destroy and join” must cooperate with a “competent international authority” designated by the treaty to verify dismantlement. States that “join and destroy” must immediately remove nuclear weapons from operational status and submit a time-bound plan for their destruction within 60 days of joining the treaty.

The treaty does not specify which “competent international authority” would be suited to verify irreversible disarmament of a nuclear-armed state that decides to join the treaty, but the treaty allows for an appropriate authority to be designated at a later date. The treaty requires any current or former nuclear-weapon state that seeks to join the prohibition treaty to conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA to verify that nuclear materials are not diverted from peaceful to weapons purposes.

Positive obligations (Articles 6 and 7)

The treaty obligates states-parties to provide victim assistance and environmental remediation to those affected by nuclear weapon use and testing.

Meetings of states-parties, signature, ratification and entry into force (Articles 8, 13, 14, and 15)

Biennial meetings of states-parties will address implementation and other measures. Review conferences will be held every six years. The treaty, opened for signature on September 20, 2017, entered into force 90 days after the 50th state ratified it (on Jan. 22, 2021).


The initiative to negotiate a "legally binding instrument" to prohibit nuclear weapons is the result of a years-long process that grew out of a renewed recognition of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use, the rising risk of accidental or intentional nuclear use, and a growing sense of frustration that key nuclear disarmament commitments made by the nuclear-weapon states were not being fulfilled.

The 2010 NPT Review Conference unanimously "expresse[d] its deep concern at the continued risk for humanity represented by the possibility that these weapons could be used and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons."

These concerns motivated a group of states—including Norway, Mexico, and Austria—to organize a series of three conferences in 2013 and 2014 on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapon use.

Following the conclusion of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, these and other states agreed to set up an open-ended working group in 2016 on advancing multilateral disarmament negotiations. The working group led to the formulation of a resolution in the UN General Assembly to start negotiations in 2017 on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The resolution passed the UN General Assembly First Committee by a vote of 123-38 with 16 abstentions in October 2016 and was subsequently adopted by the General Assembly as a whole.

Costa Rica’s UN Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez (left), president of the UN conference to negotiate a nuclear-weapons ban treaty, chairs a meeting of the conference March 30, 2017. Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

The first negotiating session was held at the UN in New York on March 27-31, 2017, with some 130 governments, and dozens of civil society organizations, participating. The president of the negotiations, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, compiled states' expressed opinions from the first round of negotiations into a draft convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons issued on May 22 in Geneva. The second and final round of negotiations took place on June 15-July 7 in New York, with participants adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by a vote of 122-1-1. The Netherlands voted against adoption, and Singapore abstained.

Reactions from the Nuclear-Armed States

Nuclear-weapon states and many NATO members have opposed the initiative from the beginning. Although the United States and the United Kingdom participated in the 2014 Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, leaders from Washington and the other nuclear-weapon states boycotted the working group sessions and the 2017 treaty negotiations.

These states contend that the treaty will distract attention from other disarmament and nonproliferation initiatives. They have expressed concern that the nuclear prohibition treaty could undermine the NPT and the extensive safeguard provisions included therein by giving states the option to "forum shop," or choose between the two treaties. Such arguments have been rejected by TPNW states parties, all of whom are also members of the NPT.

Arguments for the Treaty from Proponent States

Supporters of the nuclear prohibition treaty argue that it will close a "legal gap" that exists regarding nuclear weapons, which are not expressly outlawed by the NPT even though their use would be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict. They argue that the prohibition treaty initiative reinforces the NPT and its Article VI requirement for nuclear disarmament and that it can reduce the salience of nuclear weapons and help prompt more urgent action to reduce nuclear risk and promote disarmament.

The joint Vienna Declaration issued at the First Meeting of States Parties June 21-23, 2022 and their 50-point action plan indicate the TPNW states parties' commitment to the treaty's goals and their plan to implement its provisions.


May 3-28: The final document of the 2010 Review Conference for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) acknowledges the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use. 

March 4-5: The first conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use takes place in Oslo, Norway. 

February 13-14: The second conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use takes place in Nayarit, Mexico.  
December 8-9: The final conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use takes place in Vienna, Austria.  
December 9: 127 states endorse the Humanitarian Pledge, calling on all NPT states parties to renew their commitment to Article VI of the NPT and to take interim steps to reduce the risk of nuclear use.

October 29: The UN General Assembly First Committee votes 135-12 with 33 abstentions on a resolution to create an Open Ended Working Group to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. 

February 22-26: The first working group to advance multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations meets in Geneva, Switzerland. 
May 2-4 and 9-13: The second working group to advance multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations meets in Geneva, Switzerland.  
August 16-19: The third working group to advance multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations meets in Geneva, Switzerland, approving a final report by a vote of 68-22 with 13 abstentions.  
October 27: The First Committee adopts a resolution to begin negotiations in 2017 on a nuclear prohibition treaty by a vote of 123-38 with 16 abstentions.  
December 23: The General Assembly approves the resolution to begin negotiations on a nuclear prohibition treaty adopted by the First Committee by a vote of 113-35 and 13 abstentions.

March 27-31: The first round of negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons takes place at the United Nations in New York.  
May 22: President Elayne Whyte Gómez presents the first draft text of the treaty at the United Nations in Geneva.
June 15-July 7: The second round of negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons takes place at the United Nations in New York. 
July 7: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is adopted by a vote of 122-1-1. The Netherlands voted against the treaty, and Singapore abstained.
September 20: The TPNW opens for signature in New York. Fifty states signed the treaty, and three additional states both signed and ratified it by the day's end.

October 23-24: Jamaica, Nauru, and Honduras become the 48th, 49th, and 50th states to deliver their ratification documents, which triggers the treaty's entry into force 90 days later.

January 22:  The treaty entered into force.


June 20: Fourth Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons is held in Vienna, Austria

June 21-23: First meeting of States Parties is held in Vienna, Austria


November 27- December 1: Second meeting of States Parties is held in New York, United States.

See here for a full list of signatories and states-parties.


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The U.S. Cold War-Era Chemical Weapons Stockpile

Contact: Mina Rozei, Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition Program Assistant, (202) 463-8270 x106

In 1990, on the heels of the Cold War, the United States possessed the world's second largest chemical weapons arsenal after Russia, consisting of more than 31,500 U.S. tons (28,577 MT) of lethal chemical agents and munitions.

Following years of bilateral talks with Russia and multilateral negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on chemical weapons disarmament, the United States decided in 1986 to take unilateral action to begin the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile. The demilitarization effort was prompted by Congressional legislation (Public Law 99-145) calling for the safe destruction of the United States’ stockpile of nonbinary lethal chemical agents and related facilities.

Since transport of chemical weapons was highly contentious - and was later outright banned by Congress in 1994 (50 U.S. Code 1512a) -  the U.S. Army's chemical weapons destruction plan relied on destruction facilities located at the nine U.S. chemical weapons depots in Anniston, Alabama; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Pueblo, Colorado; Newport, Indiana; Richmond, Kentucky; Edgewood, Maryland; Umatilla, Oregon; Tooele, Utah; and Johnston Atoll. Dustruction efforts began at the first destruction facility, Johnston Atoll, in 1990.  

By 1997, when the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (also known as the Chemical Weapons Convention or the CWC) entered into force, the United States had destroyed only 1,434 MTs of its chemical agents and munitions. As a member state of the CWC, the United States committed to the destruction of its remaining chemical weapons inventory.

The chart below summarizes the types and quanties of chemical weapons that were once in the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile, including the agents and munitions that have already been destroyed. To date, all chemical agents and munitions stored at Aberdeen, Anniston, Johnston Atoll, Newport, Pine Bluff, and Tooele have been eliminated; the Pueblo (Colorado) and Blue Grass (Kentucky) destruction facilities are still operational.

The data are drawn from the records published by the Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization and the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency in 1996, 2000, 2011, and 2012.

As of April 15 2022, there are 646.7 U.S. tons of chemical agents and munitions left to be destroyed. Official updates on the effort to complete the destruction process at the Pueblo and Blue Grass destruction facilities are available online here.

As it was projected under the provisions of the CWC, the United States finished destroying its remaining chemical weapons in July 2023. (See September 2023 Arms Control Today news report)

Agent Type Key:

GA – nerve agent, also known as Tabun
GB – nerve agent, also known as Sarin
HD – blister agent, sulfur mustard (nearly pure)
H – blister agent, sulfur mustard (20%-30% impurities
HT – blister agent, sulfur mustard (60% HD and 40% agent T)
Lewisite – blister agent, the central atom is arsenic
VX – nerve agent

Quantity and Type of Former U.S. Chemical Agents and Munitions by Stockpile Location

Storage Site Agent Type Munitions Quantity
(number of munitions)
Start Date
End Date
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland HD ton containers 1,818 Apr 23, 2003 Feb 2006
Anniston Army Depot, Alabama HT 4.2-inch cartridges 183,552 Aug 9, 2003 Sep 22, 2011
HD 4.2-inch cartridges 75,360
HD 105mm cartridges 23,064
HD 155mm projectiles 17,643
HD ton containers 108
GB 105mm cartridges 74,014
GB 105mm projectiles 26
GB 155mm projectiles 9,600
GB 8-inch projectiles 16,026
GB M55 rockets 44,738
GB M56 rocket warheads 260
VX 155mm projectiles 139,581
VX mines 44,131
VX M55 rockets 35,662
Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky HD 155mm projectiles 15,492 Jun 7, 2019 Sept 30, 2023
GB 8-inch projectiles 3,977
GB M55 rockets 51,740
VX 155mm projectiles 12,816
VX M55 rockets 17,739
Johnston Atoll HD 155mm projectiles 5,779 Jun 30, 1990 Nov 29, 2000
HD 105mm projectiles 46
HD M60 projectiles 45,108
HD 4.2-inch mortars 43,600
HD ton containers 68
GB M55 rockets 58,353
GB 155mm projectiles 107,197
GB 105mm projectiles 49,360
GB 8-inch projectiles 13,020
GB MC-1 bombs 3,047
GB MK 94 bombs 2,570
GB ton containers 66
VX M55 rockets 13,889
VX 155mm projectiles 42,682
VX 8-inch projectiles 14,519
VX land mines 13,302
VX ton containers 66
Newport Chemical Depot, Indiana VX ton containers 1,690 May 5, 2005 Aug 8, 2008
Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas HT ton containers 3,591 Mar 28, 2005 Nov 12, 2010
HD ton containers 107
GB M55 rockets 90,231
GB M56 rocket warheads 178
VX M55 rockets 19,582
VX M56 rocket warheads 26
VX mines 9,378
Pueblo Army Depot, Colorado HT 4.2-inch cartridges 20,384 Sep 7, 2016 Sept 30, 2023
HD 4.2-inch cartridges 76,722
HD 105mm cartridges 383,418
HD 155mm projectiles 299,554
Tooele Army Depot, Utah H 155mm projectiles 54,663 Aug 22, 1996 Jan 21, 2012
HT 4.2-inch cartridges 62,590
HD 4.2-inch mortar 976
HD ton container 6,398
GB 105mm projectiles 798,703
GB ton containers 5,709
GB MC-1 bombs 4,463
GB M55 rockets 28,945
GB M56 rocket warheads 1,056
GB 155 mm projectiles 89,142
GB Weteye bomb 888
VX M55 rockets 3,966
VX M56 rocket warheads 3,560
VX ton containers 640
VX 155mm projectiles 53,216
VX 8-inch projectiles 1
VX spray tanks 862
VX landmines 22,690
GA ton containers 4
Lewisite ton containers 10
Umatilla Depot Activity, Oregon H ton containers 2,635 Sep 7, 2004 Oct 25, 2011
GB 155mm projectiles 47,406
GB 8-inch projectiles 14,246
GB M55 rockets 91,442
GB 500-lb bombs 27
GB 750-lb bombs 2,418
VX 155mm projectiles 32,313
VX 8-inch projectiles 3,752
VX mines 11,685
VX M55 rockets 14,519
VX spray tanks 156

The data on this chart was sourced from the archived websites of the Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization (June 24, 1997, Oct. 1, 2000) and the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (Sept. 22, 2011; Feb. 6, 2012).

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Missile Defense Systems at a Glance

An overview of the basics of missile defense systems, as well as a brief history of U.S. missile defense systems. 

Contact: Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy, 202-463-8270 x104


For nearly as long as there have been offensive weapons systems, there have also been anti-weapons systems. For years, one of the most dangerous threats to a state was ballistic missiles given the blinding speed with which they could deliver some of the world’s most dangerous weapons: nuclear-armed warheads. As such, some states have made a concentrated effort to build defenses against such weapons, known as ballistic missile defenses. However, during the Cold War, as the United States and Soviet Union experimented with and fielded missile defenses, both sides worried such defenses could prompt an uncontrollable arms race.

These concerns led to the conclusion of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which limited each side to 100 strategic missile defense interceptors at one site. The agreement helped to stabilize relations between the two nuclear superpowers and provided a foundation for further agreements limiting strategic offensive forces. However, the abrogation of the ABM treaty in 2002 by the George W. Bush administration—and the development of more advanced cruise and hypersonic missiles—have led to an uptick in funding to attempt to defend against missiles beyond just ballistic missiles and from countries beyond just Russia.

What are missile defense systems specifically trying to defend against?

The main missile threats that missile defense systems have aimed to defend against have been ballistic missiles, but more recently, greater emphasis has been placed on defending against other types of missiles as well.

Ballistic Missile Basics
(Adapted from “Worldwide Ballistic Missile Inventories”)

Ballistic missiles are powered by rockets initially but then follow an unpowered, parabolic, free-falling trajectory toward their targets. They are classified by the maximum distance that they can travel, which is a function of how powerful the missile’s engines (rockets) are and the weight of the missile’s payload, or warhead. To add more distance to a missile’s range, rockets are stacked on top of each other in a configuration referred to as staging.

There are four general classifications of ballistic missiles:

  • Short-range ballistic missiles, traveling less than 1,000 kilometers (approximately 620 miles);
  • Medium-range ballistic missiles, traveling between 1,000–3,000 kilometers (approximately 620-1,860 miles);
  • Intermediate-range ballistic missiles, traveling between 3,000–5,500 kilometers (approximately 1,860-3,410 miles); and
  • Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), traveling more than 5,500 kilometers.

Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles are referred to as “theatre” ballistic missiles, whereas ICBMs or long-range ballistic missiles are described as “strategic” ballistic missiles.

Missiles are often classified by fuel-type: liquid or solid propellants. Missiles with solid fuel require less maintenance and preparation time than missiles with liquid fuel because solid-propellants have the fuel and oxidizer together, whereas liquid-fueled missiles must keep the two separated until right before deployment.

Thirty-one countries possess ballistic missiles. Of those, only 9 (China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) are known to possess or suspected of possessing nuclear weapons. These 9 states plus Iran have produced or flight-tested missiles with ranges exceeding 1,000 kilometers. China and Russia are the only two states that are not U.S. allies that have a proven capability to launch ballistic missiles from their territories that can strike the continental United States.

Three stages of flight for a ballistic missile:

  1. Boost phase:
    • The boost phase begins at launch and lasts until the rocket engines stop firing and pushing the missile away from Earth.
    • Depending on the missile, it lasts between three and five minutes.
    • Generally, the missile is traveling relatively slowly, although towards the end of this stage, an ICBM can reach speeds of more than 24,000 kilometers per hour. Most of this phase takes place in the atmosphere (endoatmospheric).
  2. Midcourse phase:
    • The midcourse phase begins after the rockets finish firing and when the missile is on a ballistic course toward its target.
    • This is the longest stage of a missile’s flight, lasting up to 20 minutes for ICBMs.
    • During the early part of the midcourse stage, the missile is still ascending toward its apogee, while during the latter part, it is descending toward Earth.
    • During this stage, the missile’s warhead(s), as well as any decoys, separate from the delivery platform, or “bus.” This phase takes place in space (exoatmospheric). The warhead is now called/is on a reentry vehicle (RV).
  3. Terminal phase:
    • The terminal phase begins when the missile’s warhead, or RV, reenters the Earth’s atmosphere (endoatmospheric), and it continues until impact or detonation.
    • This stage takes less than a minute for a strategic warhead, which can be traveling at speeds greater than 3,200 kilometers per hour.

Other Types of Missiles

Generally, U.S. missile defense systems have been designed to defend against ballistic missiles. However, the Trump administration’s 2019 Missile Defense Review most clearly noted that the United States will be looking for ways to defend against non-ballistic missiles.

Cruise missiles and hypersonic missiles are two additional categories of missiles. Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles remain within the atmosphere for the duration of their flight. Cruise missiles are propelled by jet engines and can be launched from land-, air-, or sea-based platforms. Due to their constant propellants, they are more maneuverable than ballistic missiles, though they are also slower than their ballistic counterparts.

Two types of hypersonic missiles are currently under development. A hypersonic boost-glide vehicle (HGV) is fired by rockets into space and then released to fly to its target along the upper atmosphere. Unlike ballistic missiles, a boost-glide vehicle flies at a lower altitude and can change its intended target and trajectory repeatedly during its flight. The second type, a hypersonic cruise missile, is powered through its entire flight by advanced rockets or high-speed jet engines. It is a faster version of existing cruise missiles.

What makes up a missile defense system?

Satellite Sensors and Ground- or Sea-based Radars

Together, space-based satellites and ground- or sea-based radars create a monitoring system that contribute to offensive missile detection (detecting a missile after it has been launched), discrimination (what is a threat versus a decoy or other countermeasures), and tracking (keeping the missile “in sight” so that an interceptor can find it and eliminate the threat).


Interceptors are the missiles used once a threat has been detected. Missiles carry “kill vehicles,” which detach from the missile (also called the boosters or rockets) and then go to try to eliminate the threat. Today’s kill vehicles are “hit-to-kill,” meaning that they aim to eliminate the threat by actually running into it, or “kinetically” (also called a “kinetic kill”). Due to the speed at which the incoming rival missile and interceptors and kill vehicles are traveling, this has metaphorically been compared to “a bullet hitting another bullet.”

Some interceptors are single pieces (which means that they do not separate from their kill vehicles), such as the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3).

In addition, interceptors need launchers. Some interceptors are launched from in-ground silos, road-mobile trucks, or ships. There currently exist no interceptors in space, though the idea has been proposed. These launchers and interceptors can be carried in a “battery,” which can carry up to a cluster of launchers, interceptors with their kill vehicles, radars, and fire control.

Command and Control

All the data that is being processed by the sensors and radars and then sent to the interceptors and kill vehicles are linked through another network of command and control centers. The centers are located around the entire world and involve several different U.S. military branches and commands working together. Command and control centers also tend to utilize “fire control.”

Working Together

The information from the sensors and interceptors routed through command and control work together similar to the image below, laid out by the Union of Concerned Scientists in order to demonstrate the workings of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

Other FAQs

Are all missile defense systems currently only for ballistic missile defense?

Not exclusively. While most missile defense systems are developed to focus on the blindingly fast speed and specific trajectory of ballistic missiles, some systems could conceivably counter cruise missiles or other shorter-range targets.

Can a missile defense system intercept a threat on any part of the trajectory?

Not yet. Currently, missile defense systems are only developed and designed to carry out an interception at the mid-course (middle) or terminal (final) stage of a missile’s trajectory, even though a missile is slowest during its boost (beginning) phase. The 2019 Missile Defense Review and Congress have both called for further study of “boost-phase intercept” capabilities, proposing the controversial development of interceptors in space or other emerging capabilities, such as drones or lasers. “Left of launch” capabilities have also been proposed, which would aim to counter a missile threat before it is even launched.

What is the difference between a missile defense system (anti-missile system) and other forms of air defense systems?

Generally, missile defense systems are specifically designed to target very fast and very specific threats. However, some forward-based missile defense systems may be able to carry out missions against air-launched cruise missiles and rival aircraft. However, because other forms of air defense systems, mainly anti-aircraft systems, have such smaller areas of defense, they would be unlikely to counter a threat with the speed of a hypersonic or ballistic missile.

What are some criticisms of missile defense systems?

The U.S. pursuit of effective missile defenses has been accompanied by intense debate about the technical capabilities of the system and realism of testing, the scope of the ballistic missile threat, the deterrence and assurance benefits of the defenses, the cost-effectiveness of shooting down relatively inexpensive offensive missiles with expensive defensive ones, and the repercussions for U.S. strategic stability with Russia and China.

According to the Defense Department’s independent testing office, existing U.S. missile defenses have “demonstrated capability” to defend the U.S. homeland against a small number of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) threats that employ “simple countermeasures.” The testing office assesses that defenses to protect allies and U.S. troops abroad possess only a “limited capability” to defend against small numbers of intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) and medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs). The capability of defenses against short-range ballistic missiles is labeled as “fair.” Apart from the point-defense Patriot system, no systems in the U.S. BMD arsenal have been used in combat.

Leaders of the U.S. missile defense enterprise have increasingly voiced concerns that the current U.S. approach to national and regional missile defense is unsustainable and that existing defenses must be augmented with emerging capabilities to reduce the cost of missile defense and keep pace with advancing adversary missile threats.

Current and Under Development U.S. Missile Defense Components and Equipment

Homeland “Strategic” Defense Systems

  • Ground-based Midcourse Defense System

Regional “Theater/Tactical” Defense Systems

  • Aegis BMD system
    • Aegis BMD System (Part of the Aegis Combat System, aka Aegis Afloat; Sea-Based BMD)
    • Aegis Ashore (Land-based variant of Afloat)
  • Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
    • (Emerging) THAAD Extended Range
  • PAC-3

For more detail on current day programs and next generation efforts, visit: “Current U.S. Missile Defense Programs at a Glance.”

Each system has a combination of the previously mentioned sensors, radars, interceptors, kill vehicles, and largely use the networked command and control. The above systems rely on the below equipment and components:


Air- and Space-Based Sensors Used:

  • Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) and Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrators (STSS-D) constellation operated by the Missile Defense Agency
  • Space-based Kill Assessment (SKA) hosted on commercial satellites
  • Near Field Infrared Experiment (NFIRE) technology project, operated by the Missile Defense Agency
  • Defense Support Program (DSP), constellation of satellites operated by the U.S. Air Force Space Command
  • (Under Development) Space-based Infrared System (SBIRS), constellation of integrated satellites operated by the U.S. Air Force Space Command
    • SBIRS-LEO (Low Earth Orbit), incorporated into the STSS program in 2001 with the Missile Defense Agency
    • (Under Development) SBIRS-GEO (Geosynchronous orbit), intended to replace Defense Support Program (DSP)
    • (Under Development) SBIRS-HEO (High Elliptical orbit), intended to replace DSP


  • Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI), for the GMD System
  • SM-2
  • SM-3 (RIM-161 Standard Missile-3)
    • 3 variations: Block IA, Block IB, Block IIA
  • SM-6 (RIM 174 Standard Missile-6)
  • (Under Development) Boost Phase Laser Defenses
  • Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM), NATO Interceptor
  • Space-Based Intercept (SBI) Layer

Kill Vehicles:

  • Exo-atmospheric kill vehicle (EKV)
  • (Terminated August 2019) Redesigned kill vehicle (RKV)
  • (Under Development) Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV)

Command and Control Centers:

For more detail on how the above components fit together in each separate missile defense program and next generation efforts, visit: “Current U.S. Missile Defense Programs at a Glance.”

History of U.S. Missile Defense Systems

Brief History of U.S. Missile Defense Systems

After the end of World War II, U.S. military planners began to weigh the need to be able counter ballistic missile threats before they reached their targets. During the war, German V-2s were particularly concerning, and in 1946, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) embarked on the Projects Wizard and Thumper study programs to develop an anti-ballistic missile (ABM).

Recognizing the complexities of what would be a multi-year study, the Air Force focused on Project Wizard as a long-term study. In 1949, the Army began to develop its own Project Plato, the services’ first effort to develop a theatre ABM system. As the Cold War began to ramp up during the 1950s and the Soviet Union continued their ICBM development, the Army and Air Force began to compete for a role in strategic missile defense, which led to the 1957 initiation of the Army’s nuclear-capable Nike Zeus ABM interceptor. The program's high costs and shortcomings spurred criticism of the ABM system concept. Meanwhile, to settle the Air Force and Army dispute over who should pursue the strategic missile defense initiative, then Defense Secretary Neil H. McElroy assigned the mission to the Army and established the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).

After the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, using the justification that the crisis caused the Soviets to aggressively ramp up their ICBM program, the U.S. military also reoriented its ABM efforts to create an improved system called Nike-X. News also reached the U.S. military that the Soviets were developing their own ABM capabilities. U.S. leaders felt that in order to overcome the Soviet ABM system, they would either need an overwhelming offensive force or arms control agreements—so they resisted calls to deploy the Nike-X ABM system until China conducted its first nuclear test. The Chinese test meant that proponents of the Nike-X ABM system could now argue that a limited ABM deployment which could counter China would be better than a heavy ABM deployment to counter the Soviets. The United States deployed the Nike-X ABM in 1967 and renamed the ABM system the Sentinel. The Navy and Air Force also began to develop their own ABM system concepts.

In 1968, the Johnson administration began to shift the limited mission of the Sentinel system from against China towards a heavier defense mission against a large-scale Soviet attack. Though this may have been done in part to use the system as a “bargaining chip” as the Soviets had just agreed to begin long-sought arms control negotiations, the shift caused debate, confusion, and criticism over the purpose of the controversial Sentinel system.

In 1969, the Nixon administration re-oriented the U.S. ABM system again so that instead of protecting urban areas, it would now be used to protect the nation’s strategic deterrent: the silo-based Minuteman ICBMs. President Nixon renamed the system “Safeguard.” The system was still used as a bargaining chip as the United States and Russia continued with the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, which eventually led to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

The ABM Treaty initially limited each side’s ABM deployments to only two locations with no more than 100 interceptors total. After a 1974 protocol was negotiated, each side was allowed only one site. The Safeguard site was closed in 1976 because it could be easily overwhelmed by a Soviet attack and because detonation of its nuclear-armed warheads would blind its own radars.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to revisit the issue of the feasibility of missile defense. The day after his announcement, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) called the president’s speech “reckless Star Wars Schemes”—a phrase that had previously been used to also reference exotic Pentagon space weaponry projects, but now was the new nickname of SDI. Around this time, the Army had begun working on developing a nonnuclear hit-to-kill interceptor and, in 1984, was able to intercept a dummy warhead outside of the atmosphere in space.

Meanwhile, ARPA’s successor, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), began developing laser and particle beam technologies for application that included ballistic missile defense and space defense. The Reagan administration highlighted that SDI would not jeopardize U.S. compliance with the ABM Treaty because of SDI’s focus at the time was as a research- and development-based project, not deployment. The Department of Defense then chartered the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) in 1984.

Toward the end of the 1980s, SDI—which had developed a broad and costly space- and ground-based defense concept—reoriented its focus to the “Brilliant Pebbles” (BP) program, which used autonomous, small-scale, space-launched interceptors. In 1990, BP was introduced as an affordable hit-to-kill system that skirted concerns about the exposure of large-scale space systems. However, in light of the fall of the Soviet Union, under the directive of the George H. W. Bush administration, SDI was overhauled to address limited nuclear strikes in 1991. Bush announced a new system, the Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS).

When President Bill Clinton entered office, he shifted focus on theatre missile defense instead of national missile defense. To reflect this, he canceled the BP program and changed the name of SDIO to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO). He also broke up the Bush GPALS program into several Army, Navy, and Air Force programs, introducing what is now the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) program, the Theatre High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, the ship-borne Aegis air defense system and Standard Missile (SM) interceptor, and the Air Force’s Airborne Laser Project. However, during his administration, President Clinton was pressured by Congress to pursue national missile defense that would have consequences for U.S. obligations towards the ABM Treaty. President Clinton signed the 1999 National Missile Defense Act, which made it “the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense (NMD) system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack.” However, in 2000, President Clinton announced that he would leave the final decision of pursing a national missile defense system to his successor.

In 2001, the new George W. Bush administration announced that it was giving its six-month notice of its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, which took effect in 2002. Also in 2002, President Bush changed the name of BMDO to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The military began to reorient the missile defense program to be an integrated, layered, and nationwide defense system.

The Obama Administration

Upon taking office in 2009, the Obama administration took steps to curtail the Bush administration’s rush to expand the U.S. homeland missile defense footprint and instead place greater emphasis on regional defense, particularly in Europe. The Obama administration decided to alter its predecessor’s plans for missile defense in Europe, announcing Sept. 17, 2009, that the United States would adopt a European “Phased Adaptive Approach” (EPAA) to missile defense. This approach primarily uses the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system to address the threat posed by short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles from Iran. The Aegis system uses the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors, which are deployed on Arleigh-Burke class destroyers in the Baltic Sea (Aegis Afloat), as well as on land in Romania and Poland (Aegis Ashore).

President Obama's first Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, also canceled a number of next generation programs, including two designed to intercept missiles during their boost phase, due to “escalating costs, operational problems, and technical challenges.”

However, while continuing to invest in regional defense, the Obama administration also made substantial investments in homeland defense largely in response to North Korea. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system comprises missile fields in Ft. Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and is designed to protect the United States against limited, long-range missile strikes from North Korea and Iran. Despite concerns about the system’s technical viability, from 2013 to 2017, the Obama administration expanded the number of ground-based interceptors (GBIs) in these fields from 30 to 44.

The Obama administration also oversaw the deployment of additional regional missile interceptor and sensor capabilities to allies in Northeast Asia in response to North Korea, including the deployment of the THAAD system to Guam and South Korea and two advanced radars to Japan.

To view the history in a timeline form, visit the Union of Concerned Scientists.

For current day programs since the beginning of the Trump administration, visit: “Current U.S. Missile Defense Programs at a Glance.”

Recently Canceled Programs

A number of high-profile missile defense efforts that began during the George W. Bush administration were canceled by President Bush’s last Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, under President Barack Obama. Below is a summary of some of these programs, the reason they were canceled, and the amount of money that was spent to develop them.

[Previously known as Space-based Infrared System-low (SBIRS-low)]

Program Elements

The program was a planned network of 9-12 satellites which were expected to support U.S. missile defense systems by providing tracking data from space on missiles during their entire flight.

Dates of Program

October 2009 – April 2013

Money Spent

More than $230 million

Major Issues

As reported by the LA Times, outside experts found that the satellites would not have been able to detect warheads flying over the arctic. In order to provide continuous tracking of the missiles, MDA would have actually needed at least 24 satellites. An independent cost assessment projected the total cost of the system to be $24 billion over 20 years instead of the $10 billion MDA projected.


Program Elements

The original program included a modified Boeing 747 plane equipped with a chemical oxygen-iodine laser (COIL) and two tracking lasers. The laser beam would be produced by a chemical reaction. The objective was to shoot down ballistic missiles during their boost phase right after launch, but the system could also be used for other missions.

Dates of Program

November 1996 – February 2012

Money Spent

$5.3 billion

Major Issues

The laser would have had a limited range, which meant the 747 would have been vulnerable to anti-aircraft missiles. To increase the range, the laser would have needed to be 20-30 times more powerful than planned.


Program Elements

KEI was to be comprised of three powerful boosters and a separating kill vehicle. The booster was expected to travel at least six kilometers per second, which is comparable to an ICBM. The kill vehicle was not designed to carry an explosive warhead but to destroy its target through the force of a collision.

Dates of Program

March 2003 – June 2009

Money Spent

$1.7 billion

Major Issues

In order to carry the KEI, Navy ships would have needed to be retrofitted. The range was not great enough to be land-based.


Program Elements

The program was designed to launch multiple kill vehicles from a single booster in order to increase the odds of destroying an incoming missile. It was designed to destroy both missiles and decoys.

Dates of Program

January 2004 – April 2009

Money Spent

~$700 million

Major Issues

The program was canceled by the Obama administration in order to focus on “proven, near-term missile defense programs that can provide more immediate defenses of the United States.”

Missile Defense

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: The United States

January 2024

According to the Federation of Scientists, as of January 2023, the United States possesses a stockpile of active 3,708 warheads. Of these, 1,770 warheads are deployed and 1,938 are in reserve. In addition, about 1,536 warheads are awaiting dismantlement, for a total of 5,244 nuclear warheads.

On Oct. 27, 2022, the Biden administration released its Nuclear Posture Review, detailing its strategy for the role of U.S. nuclear forces. The United States has completed its chemical weapons stockpile destruction operation in July 2023. It is party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and has destroyed its biological weapons arsenal.


Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Ballistic Missile Defense Systems
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record
  • Nuclear Doctrine

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
  • New START
  • Nuclear Reductions Beyond New START
  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
  • Syrian Chemical Weapons


Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties




Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty



Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty


- - -

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)



CPPNM 2005 Amendment

- - -


Chemical Weapons Convention



Biological Weapons Convention



International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism



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Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards



Australia Group


Missile Technology Control Regime


Nuclear Suppliers Group


Wassenaar Arrangement


International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol

Signed in 1998, entered into force January, 2009.

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

Co-founder with Russia

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation


Proliferation Security Initiative


UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673

The United States has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states.

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Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview

According to the Federation of the American Scientists, as of January 2023, the United States possesses 3,708 stockpiled strategic and non-strategic nuclear warheads and an additional 1,536 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, for a total arsenal of 5,244 warheads. In April 2019, the Defense Department stated it would no longer declassify the number of U.S. nuclear warheads.

Under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the United States can deploy no more than 1,550 treaty accountable strategic warheads on 700 deployed delivery systems until Feb. 5, 2026 when the treaty expires. According to the May 2023 New START data exchange, the United States deploys 1,419 strategic nuclear warheads on 662 strategic delivery systems.

The United States also deploys an additional 100 tactical (non-strategic) nuclear warheads based in Europe. While the United States and Russia maintain similarly sized total arsenals, the United States possesses a much larger number of strategic warheads and delivery systems while Russia possesses a much larger number of non-strategic (or tactical) nuclear warheads.

The United States is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons against another country, dropping two bombs (one apiece) on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, killing as many as 214,000 by the end of 1945.

Delivery Systems

(For a detailed overview of current and planned U.S. nuclear modernization programs, see our fact sheet here.)

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

  •  As of January 2023, the United States Air Force deploys 400 LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBMs.
    • The Minuteman III has a range of over 6,000 miles (9,650-13,000 km).
    • Each missile is equipped with either one 300 kt W87 warhead or one 335 kt W78 warhead.
  • Under New START, the United States reduced the number of deployed ICBMs from 450 to 400. 50 excess silos have not been destroyed but have been kept in a “warm” operational status and can be loaded with missiles relatively quickly if necessary.
  • In 2015, the United States completed a multibillion dollar, decade-long modernization program that will extend the service life of the Minuteman III to beyond 2030.  
  • The U.S. Air Force is also developing a new sentinel ICBM, also known as the ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD), which is intended to replace the Minuteman III between 2029 and 2035.

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM)


  • The U.S. Navy operates 14 Ohio-class SSBNs submarines, two of which are undergoing overhaul of their nuclear reactors at any given time. The remaining 12 are available for deployment. However, since some operational SSBNs also undergo minor repairs at any given time the actual number of SSBNs at sea usually numbers at around 10.
  • 7 submarines are based out of Bangor, Washington and 5 submarines are based out of Kings Bay, Georgia.
  • The submarines originally had 24 missile tubes for Trident II D5 SLBMs, but under New START, the Navy deactivated 4 tubes on each submarine, finishing this process in 2017.
  • The Ohio-class submarines have a life-span of 42 years.

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs):

  • The Trident II D5 was first deployed in 1990 and has an operational range of 7,400-12,000 km.
  • The Trident II D5 missile can hold up to eight warheads (but usually holds an average of four to five) and carries 3 variants:
    • the W88—a 475 kt Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) warhead.
    • the W76-0—a 100 kt MIRV warhead.
    • the W76-1—a 100 kt MIRV warhead.
  • To comply with New START, the Navy will not deploy more than 240 missiles. As of February 2018, 203 submarine-launched ballistic missiles were deployed. 
  • An ongoing life extension program is expected to keep the Trident II D5 in service until  2042.
  • The Trident II D5 is the only MIRV’ed (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle) strategic missile remaining in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.


  • As of January 2023, the Air Force is estimated to deploy 46 nuclear-capable B-52H Stratofortress bombers and 20 nuclear-capable B-2A Spirit bombers.
  • An estimated 788 nuclear warheads are assigned to the strategic bombers, but only about 300 are typically deployed at bomber bases.
    • B-52H Stratofortress bombers: dual-capable; can carry 20 AGM-86B cruise missiles. The AGM-86B has a range of 2,500 km and is equipped with a 5-150 kt W80-1 warhead
    • B-2A Spirit bombers: dual capable; can carry 16 B61-7, B61-11, or B83-1 gravity bombs.
  • The United States also maintains several fighter-aircraft that serve in a dual-capable role. The F-15E and F-16C have been the cornerstone of this aspect of nuclear deterrence, carrying the B61 gravity bomb. The new stealth F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, will replace the F-16 as the U.S. Air Force’s primary nuclear capable fighter-aircraft.

Ballistic Missile Defense Systems

The United States develops and deploys several ballistic missile defense systems around the world. To learn more, see: "U.S. Missile Defense Programs at a Glance." 

Fissile Material

Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

  • The United States has publicly declared that it no longer produces fissile material for weapons purposes. It stopped production of HEU in 1992.
  • In March 2016, the United States announced the declassification of its national inventory of highly enriched uranium (HEU) of 585.6 tons, as of September 30, 2013.
  • The United States halted the production of HEU for weapons in 1964 and ceased plutonium separation for weapons in 1992.
  • Estimates from 2016 place the U.S. HEU stockpile at around 487 metric tons, including about 360.9 metric tons in weapons and available for weapons, 121.1 tons reserved for naval fuel and 17.3 metric tons reserved for research reactors, which is declared to be for "national security or non-national security programs including nuclear weapons, naval propulsion, nuclear energy, and science."
  • According to the 2022 Global Fissile Material Report, the remaining 86.2 metric tons of HEU includes about 41.6 metric tons of HEU "available for potential down-blend to low enriched uranium or, if not possible, disposal as low-level waste" and 44.6 metric tons in spent reactor fuel.


  • The United States ended production of separated plutonium in 1988.
  • At the end of 2014, U.S. military plutonium stockpiles amounted to a total of 87.6 declared metric tons (49.3 metric tons of which are declared as excess military plutonium).
  • In October 2016, citing U.S. failure to meet its obligations under the agreement, Russia suspended its own implementation of the deal. Russia refuses to resume the agreement’s implementation until U.S. sanctions against Russia are lifted and NATO forces in Europe are reorganized along lines favorable to Russia. Russia contends that U.S. plans to abandon the conversion of plutonium into MOX fuel in favor of a cheaper and faster downblending method does not meet the terms of the deal because doing so would fail to change the composition of the plutonium from weapons-grade to reactor grade. 
  • The United States possesses no separated civilian plutonium but at the end of 2014, an estimated 625 metric tons of plutonium were contained in spent fuel stored at civilian reactor sites.
  • Under the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA), finalized with Russia in 2000, the United States committed to disposing of 34 metric tons of excess weapons-grade plutonium beginning in 2018. The agreement was amended in 2010 to change the agreed disposition methods in which Russia abandoned using mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel in light-water reactors in favor or irradiating plutonium in its fast-neutron reactors. The amendment also expressed renewed U.S. commitment to provide $400 million towards the Russian disposition program. Russia suspended cooperation with the agreement in November 2016.

 Proliferation Record

  • A close relationship exists between U.S. and British nuclear weapons programs. The United States supplies the United Kingdom with the Trident II D5 SLBM.
  • Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey all host U.S. tactical nuclear gravity bombs as part of NATO nuclear sharing agreements. The estimated 180 weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime, but some may be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war.
  • Beginning with President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1953 “Atoms for Peace” initiative, the United States has engaged in extensive worldwide trading and exchanging of fissile materials and technical information for nuclear science research and the peaceful use of nuclear technology. In 1954, an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act allowed bilateral nuclear agreements with U.S. allies to proceed, with the intent of exporting only low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel; however, this soon expanded to include HEU.
  • Under the “Atoms for Peace” program a number of former, aspiring, and current nuclear-weapon states such as South Africa, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Israel all received, directly or indirectly, training and technology transfers utilized in their nuclear weapons programs. For example, in 1967, the United States supplied Iran with a 5 megawatt nuclear research reactor along with HEU fuel. Iran admitted to using the reactor in the early 1990s for the production of small amounts of Polonium-210, a radioactive substance capable of starting a chain reaction inside a nuclear weapon.
  • Since the end of the Cold War the United States has tried to mitigate the adverse effects of the “Atoms for Peace” initiative and returned exported HEU and plutonium to the United States.

Nuclear Doctrine

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in a Oct. 22, 2022 press call, claimed that the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) "depart[s] from some of the Trump-era formulas, and in doing so, we believe displays a step forward towards the reduction of the role of nuclear weapons in American strategy." The 2022 NPR emphasizes that "by the 2030, the United States will, for the first time in its history, face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries," namely China and Russia. Critics of the 2022 NPR argue that the NPR maintain an ambiguous and dangerous nuclear declaratory policy that relies on the threats of nuclear weapons use.

Declaratory Policy

The NPR dictates that the use of nuclear weapons will only be considered under “extreme circumstances” to defend the “vital interests” of the United States and its allies. While 2022 NPR did not define "extrene circumstances" as 2018 NPR did, 2022 NPR addresses that it recognizes "that a near-simultaneous conflict with two nuclear-armed states would constitute an extreme circumstance." For more on declaratory policy, see: Nuclear Declaratory Policy and Negative Security Assurances.

Negative Security Assurance

The NPR also includes a negative security assurance that the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapons states that are “party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and are in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.” The review caveats this negative security assurance by explaining for all other non-nuclear-weaoin states outside the NPT,“there remains a narrow range of contingencies in which U.S. nuclear weapons may still play a role in deterring attacks that have strategic effect against the United States or its allies and partners.” For more on negative security assurances, see: U.S. Negative Security Assurances at a Glance.

The United States has conducted 1,030 nuclear weapons tests. The first test was conducted on July 16, 1945 and the last test occurred on Sept. 23, 1992. The United States was the first country to conduct a nuclear test. 

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Biological Weapons

  • In the early 1970s, the United States destroyed its entire stockpile of biological weapons, which had been developed between 1943 and 1969.
  • The United States ratified the Biological Weapons Convention in 1975.  However, in 2001, the Bush administration opposed and killed an effort dating back to 1995 to augment the Biological Weapons Convention with a legally binding verification protocol. U.S. officials said the protocol would be too burdensome on legitimate governments and private biodefense programs, while at the same time failing to deter cheaters.
  • According to a 2016 State Department report, “In December 2015 at the annual Meeting of States Parties to the BWC, the delegation of the Russian Federation asserted that the United States had knowingly transferred live anthrax spores to a foreign country for use in open-air testing, and that this constituted a ‘grave violation’ of Articles III and IV of the BWC [Biological Weapons Convention].”
  • The United States maintains that these transfers were a blunder. The report also notes that, “All U.S. activities during the reporting period were consistent with the obligations set forth in the BWC. The United States continues to work toward enhancing transparency of biological defense work using the BWC confidence-building measures.

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Chemical Weapons

  • Second only to Russia, the United States had one of the largest declared stockpiles of chemical agents at the time of the Chemical Weapons Convention’s (CWC) 1997 entry into force.
  • For more on the U.S. chemical weapons program and destruction, see: September 2023 Arms Control Today news report.

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Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities  

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
The 1987 INF Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union requires the United States and Russia to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The treaty resulted in the United States and the Soviet Union destroying a total of 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s implementation deadline of June 1, 1991.
However, in July 2014 the U.S. State Department officially assessed Russia to be in violation of the agreement citing Russian production and testing of an illegal ground-launched cruise missile. The State Department reiterated this conclusion in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. In February 2019 the United States announced its intention to suspend its obligations and withdraw from the treaty, beginning a six-month withdrawal period that will end in August.  For more information on the INF Treaty visit our "INF Treaty at a Glance" fact sheet.

In April 2010, the United States and Russia signed a successor agreement to the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) accord. The 2010 agreement, known as New START, commenced on Feb. 5, 2011. It requires that both sides reduce their arsenals to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons on no more than 700 ICBMs, SLMBs, and bombers by Feb. 5, 2018 and both sides met the limits by the deadline. In addition, it contains rigorous monitoring and verification provisions to ensure compliance with the agreement. President Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned the value of New START, calling it a “one-sided” agreement.

New START allows for a five-year extension subject to the agreement of both parties. The Trump administration has begun an interagency review on whether to extend the treaty and is weighing several factors, including the lack of China’s participation in the agreement, Russia’s new and developing strategic systems, and Russian tactical delivery systems currently not covered by the treaty. Though no official decision has been made yet regarding the Trump administration’s decision to extend, National Security Advisor John Bolton called it “unlikely” in June 2019.

With only two days before its expiration on Feb. 3, 2021, the United States (the Biden administration) and Russia agreed to extend the New START for five years through Feb. 4, 2026. Regarding the bilaterla arms control discussions, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reiterated that the United States is willing to engage with Russia "without preconditions" in June 2023 at ACA annual forum.

Nuclear Reduction Beyond New START
In February 2013, President Obama announced that the United States intended to engage with Russia to further reduce deployed strategic warheads by one-third below the New START limit to around 1,100 to 1,000 deployed warheads. However, there has been little progress toward achieving such reductions due to the deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Russia’s insistence that other issues, such as limits on U.S. missile defenses, be part of negotiations on further reductions. In the spring of 2019, the White House told reporters that the administration is seeking a new trilateral arms control agreement that limits all types of nuclear weapons and includes China in addition to the United States and Russia. 

Conference on Disarmament (CD)
The Conference on Disarmament was established in 1979 as a multilateral disarmament negotiating forum by the international community. At the 65-member CD, the United States has expressed support for continuing discussions on the CD's core issues: nuclear disarmament, a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), and negative security assurances. The United States has been a prominent supporter of a proposed FMCT.

In March 1995, the CD took up The Shannon Mandate which established an ad hoc committee directed to negotiate an FMCT by the end of the 1995 session. A lack of consensus over verification provisions, as well as desires to hold parallel negotiations on outer space arms control issues, prevented negotiations from getting underway. Later, in May 2006, the United States introduced a draft FMCT along with a draft mandate for its negotiations. However, following an impasse in negotiations on a FMCT in 2010, the United States (and others) signaled its desire to look at alternative approaches outside the CD and called for negotiations to be moved to the United Nations General Assembly where the agreement could be endorsed by a majority vote. However, the United States no longer makes comments to this effect.

The United States does not support negotiations on PAROS, deeming it unnecessary because there are no weapons yet deployed in outer space. China and Russia continue to articulate a desire to hold parallel negotiations, a point which has further stalled efforts to begin FMCT negotiations.

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
The United States has ratified a protocol to the Latin America and the Caribbean Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) treaty pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the contracting parties. The U.S. has declined to ratify similar additional protocols to any of the remaining NWFZ treaties for Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific. 

Nuclear Security Summits
In April 2010, the United States hosted the first Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, DC. Participants included 47 countries, 38 of which were represented at the head of state or head of government level, and the heads of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the European Union. At the summit, the participants unanimously adopted the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material in the next four years. The United States also attended the NSS in Seoul, South Korea, on March 26-27, 2012 and the third NSS on Mar. 24-25, 2014. Washington hosted a fourth summit in the Spring of 2016 where attendees developed action plans for five global organizations to continue the work of the summits.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
Under the Obama administration the United States played the central role in the brokering of the July 2015 JCPOA, better known as the “Iran deal,” which limits and rolls back Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. Congress in September 2015 debated a resolution that would have blocked implementation of the accord, but it failed to receive enough votes to pass the Senate. In January 2016, sanctions on Iran, including those targeting the financial and oil sectors, were lifted and $100 billion worth of frozen Iranian assets were released after international inspectors confirmed that Iran had rolled back large sections of its nuclear program and met more intrusive monitoring requirements.

On May 8, 2018 President Trump violated the JCPOA by reimposing sanctions on Iran that were lifted by the agreement, despite the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Iran was adhering to its commitments under the deal and over objections from the remaining parties to the agreement. Since the U.S. decision to withdraw, the remaining parties to the deal have reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA and taken steps to bypass U.S. sanctions and preserve legitimate trade with Iran.

Response to Syrian Chemical Weapons
In September 2013, in the aftermath of the large-scale use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, United States reached an agreement with Russia to account, inspect, control, and eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Before the deal was reached, the United States was planning to use airstrikes to punish the perpetrators of the attack, which the United States blamed on the Syrian government. By July 2014, Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile had been successfully removed from the country and flagged for destruction following a broad multilateral operation. However, the United States has raised concerns about the accuracy of Syria’s declaration.

In September 2014, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that chlorine gas was being used in Syria. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Mar. 6, 2015 condemning the use of chlorine gas in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry was quick to suggest that the Assad regime was the likely perpetrator of the chlorine gas attacks; Russia, however, was hesitant to assign blame. In August 2016, the third report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism was released, finding that the Syrian government was responsible for chemical weapons attacks.

In April 2017, another chemical weapon attack was carried out in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun where Syrian government warplanes were accused of spreading a nerve agent via bombs, killing dozens. U.S. President Donald Trump responded by immediately blaming the regime of Bashar Assad and launching 59 Tomahawk missiles targeting the airfield that had allegedly launched the attack.  

(For a detailed timeline on Syrian chemical weapons, see our fact sheet here.)


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Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Russia

January 2024

As of early 2023, Russia’s nuclear arsenal is estimated to comprise 5,889 warheads, including approximately 1,400 that have been retired and are awaiting dismantlement. It is estimated that of the 4,489 warheads in Russia’s nuclear arsenal, 1,674 strategic warheads are deployed. 834 of which are land-based ballistic missiles, 640 on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and potentially 200 at heavy bomber bases. 999 warheads are in storage and the remaining 1,816 are nonstrategic according to the Federation of Atomic Scientists.


Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Ballistic Missile Defense Systems
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record
  • Nuclear Doctrine

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
  • New START
  • Nuclear Reduction Beyond New START
  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
  • Syrian Chemical Weapons

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties




Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty



Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty



Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)



CPPNM 2005 Amendment



Chemical Weapons Convention



Biological Weapons Convention



International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism



*A law signed on Nov. 2 2023 by President Vladimir Putin that revokes Russia’s ratification of the treaty takes effect. Russian officials claimed they decided to withdraw the country's ratification of the CTBT in 2023 to "mirror" the posture of the United States. They say they will continue to cooperate with the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and the operation of the treaty's International Monitoring System and International Data Center. A a treaty signatory, Russia remains obligated not to take any action contrary to the object or purpose of the treaty.

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards



Australia Group

Not a member, but Russia claims to adhere to the group’s rules and control list

Missile Technology Control Regime


Nuclear Suppliers Group


Wassenaar Arrangement


International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol

Signed in 2000, entered into force in 2007

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

Co-founder with the United States

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation


Proliferation Security Initiative


UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673

Russia has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview

As of early 2019, the Federation of American Scientists estimated that Russia possesses a nuclear arsenal consisting of a total of 6,490 warheads, including approximately 1,070 strategic and 1,820 non-strategic warheads in storage, and approximately 2,000 warheads that have been retired and are awaiting dismantlement. Under New START, Russia can deploy no more than 1,550 treaty accountable warheads until February 2021 when the treaty expires. As of March 2019, Russia had 1,461 strategic deployed warheads and 524 deployed strategic delivery systems.

According to the Pentagon, Russia has an active stockpile of up to 2,000 tactical (non-strategic) nuclear warheads, a much larger number than the United States' 150 tactical nuclear weapons, which are deployed in Europe. The United States and Russia have a comparable number of strategic nuclear weapons.

Delivery Systems

For information on Russian Ballistic Missiles, see our fact sheet here.

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM)


  • Russia is capable of delivering up to 720 warheads through Delta IV submarines, Delta III submarines and the new Borey-class submarines (to replace aging Delta III and IV submarines).
    • Delta IV
      • Part of Russia’s Northern Fleet.
      • Armed with 16 RSM-54 Sineva (SS-N-23 Skiff) missiles. 
      • Reportedly upgraded to carry the new R-29RMU2 Layner missiles (a modified Sineva missile).
    • Delta III
      • Part of Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
      • Armed with 16 RSM-50 Volna (SS-N-18 Stingray) missiles.
    • Borey class and Borey-A class
      • Armed with 16 RSM-56 Bulava missiles.
      • Russia is developing five upgraded Borey-A class submarines to be delivered by the mid-2020s.

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM):

  • Russia’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles include the RSM-50, RSM-54, RSM-56, and reportedly the R-29RMU2 and include a total of 176 missile launchers on all SSBNs.
    • RSM-50 (SS-N-18 M1 Stingray)
      • Deployed in 1978.
      • Equipped with three 50kt MIRVs, 6,500-8,000 km range
    • RSM-54 (SS-N-23 M1 Sineva)
      • Deployed in 2007.
      • Equipped with four 100 kt MIRVs, 8,300 km range. 
    • RSM-56 (SS-N-32 Bulava)
      • Deployed in 2014.
      • Equipped with six 100 kt MIRVs, 8,000+ km range.
      • Since its inaugural test in 2004, the Bulava missile has a long record of failed launches, the most recent being in 2016.  
    • R-29RMU2
      • Several sources claim it entered service in 2014, some have speculated that the missile can be equipped with up to 10 warheads, however, other estimates put the number at 4 warheads.

Strategic Bombers

  • As of 2019, the Russian Air Force operates 68 long-range bombers which can carry a total of 786 warheads.
    • Tu-95 MS6
      • Capable of carrying nuclear Kh-55 (AS-15A) strategic cruise missiles. 
    • Tu-95 MS16
      • Capable of carrying nuclear Kh-55 (AS-15A) strategic cruise missiles.
    • Tu-160
      • Capable of carrying Kh-55 (AS-15B) cruise missiles or 12 Kh-15 (AS-16) short range attack missiles. 
  • All three aircraft are categorized as strategic heavy bombers and are limited by New START. 
  • All three bombers can be equipped with gravity bombs.
  • The Russian Air Force also operates a multipurpose medium-range supersonic bomber, the Tu-22M, which is considered a tactical nuclear delivery platform for various types of cruise missiles and is not limited by New START.
  • Russia has begun studying designs for a next-generation of strategic bombers meant to replace the entire fleet of Tu-95’s, Tu-160’s, and Tu-22M’s. The new bomber program is expected to develop a prototype by the early 2020’s.
New Strategic Systems
Russia is also working on the development of a range of new strategic-range weapons:
  • Avangard, a hypersonic boost-glide warhead, which can be carried by the Sarmat “super-heavy” ICBM
  • Kinzhal, a hypersonic ballistic missile which can perform evasive maneuvers
  • Peresvet, a high-energy laser weapon
  • Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered cruise missile “of unlimited range”
  • Poseidon, a nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle “of unlimited range”

Ballistic Missile Defense Systems

Despite Moscow’s fierce criticisms of the U.S. missile defense program, Russia is expanding and upgrading its air and missile defense systems. Russia exports many of these systems abroad. The A-135 ballistic missile defense system has been operational around Moscow since 1995, after replacing the 1970s-era A-35 Galosh system. Russia operates several families of air defense systems, each consisting of multiple variants and upgrades. These include the S-300P, S-300V, and S-400 systems. The S-500 system is in development. More information can be found here

Fissile Material

Russia has publicly declared that it no longer produces fissile material (highly enriched uranium [HEU] and plutonium) for weapons purposes.

Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

  • The Kremlin announced a halt to HEU production for weapons in 1989 and the cessation of plutonium production for weapons in 1994.
  • At the end of 2016, Russia’s HEU stockpile was estimated at 679 metric tons, with a margin of error of 120 metric tons (making it, absent the margin of error, the largest HEU stockpile). Approximately 20 metric tons are designated for civilian use, the second largest stockpile of civilian HEU after the United States.
  • Russia concluded a joint program in 2013, the U.S.-Russia Highly Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement, in which Moscow downblended 500 metric tons of its excess weapons grade HEU into a reactor fuel unsuitable for bombs that it then sold to the United States as light water reactor fuel.
  • A second U.S. funded program, the Material Conversion and Consolidation project (MCC), blended down 16.8 metric tons of HEU by the end of 2014.


  • In April 2010, Russia closed its last plutonium production facility.
  • In 2012, the last weapon-grade plutonium reprocessing plant Zheleznogorsk was shut down.
  • Its total plutonium stockpile is, as of the beginning of 2022, estimated at 192 metric tons, with an 8 metric ton margin of error.
    • The weapons-grade stockpile is estimated at 128 ± 8 metric tons.
    • 63.5 metric tons of separated reactor-grade plutonium are declared for civilian use.
  • Russia committed to disposing of 34 metric tons of excess plutonium, beginning in 2018, under a 2000 agreement with the United States entitled the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA).
    • However, in October 2016, Russia, citing the U.S. failure to meet its obligations under the agreement, suspended its implementation of the deal and conditioned the resumption of implementation on the lifting of all U.S. sanctions against Russia and a restructuring of NATO’s forces.
    • Russia contends that U.S. plans to abandon the conversion of plutonium into mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel in favor of a cheaper and faster downblending method does not meet the terms of the deal because this alternative method would not change the composition of the plutonium from weapons-grade to reactor-grade.

Proliferation Record

  • The United States and independent analysts have long cited Russia as a key supplier of nuclear and missile-related goods and technology to a variety of countries, including states of proliferation concern such as Iran and Syria.
    • In response, the United States has often levied sanctions on Russian entities believed to be involved in such proliferation activities.
    • Beginning in the mid-2000s, the number and frequency of Russian entities placed under U.S. proliferation sanctions declined, possibly as a result of an increasing Russian commitment to controlling sensitive exports; however, that number has greatly increased since 2014.
  • Russia remains a source of illicit sensitive technology pertaining to missile proliferation.
  • The vast former Soviet biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons complexes, including their former scientists, have also been seen as a potential source of arms, materials, and knowledge for other regimes or non-state actors.
    • The United States and other countries have pursued programs dedicated to mitigating this potential threat by helping Russia and other former Soviet states secure or destroy facilities, materials, and weapon systems, and gainfully employ former scientists in non-arms related work.
    • However, there has been a significant decline in U.S.-Russian nonproliferation cooperation since 2013, despite continued cooperation in cleaning out weapon-grade material from third countries such as Poland in 2016.
  • After suspending the PMDA, Russia likewise suspended its participation in a 2013 cooperative agreement on nuclear and energy related research and terminated a third agreement from 2010 on exploring options for converting research reactors from weapons-usable fuel.

Nuclear Doctrine

In 2020, Russia publicly expanded on the circumstances under which it might employ nuclear weapons in a policy document on nuclear deterrence signed. The 2020 document, called “Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence,” marks the first time Russia has consolidated and publicly released its nuclear deterrence policy, which previously was classified.

As stated in the two most recent versions of the military doctrine, two of the scenarios in which Russia “reserves the right to use nuclear weapons” include when Moscow is acting “in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.” The 2000 military doctrine differed slightly in its description of the latter scenario, as it instead allowed nuclear use in response to conventional attacks in “situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.” 

The two additional scenarios contained in the 2020 document include an “arrival [of] reliable data on a launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of the Russian Federation and/or its allies” or an “attack by [an] adversary against critical governmental or military sites of the Russian Federation, disruption of which would undermine nuclear forces response actions.” (See ACT July/August).

Prior to this, under Russia’s military doctrine, in December 2014, Russia “reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in response to aggression against the Russian Federation that utilizes conventional weapons that threatens the very existence of the state.”

U.S. Defense Department officials have said that Russian doctrine includes a so-called “escalate to de-escalate” strategy, which envisions the limited first use of nuclear weapons to attempt to end a large-scale conventional conflict on terms favorable to Russia. However, some experts have called into question whether “escalate to de-escalate” is part of Russian doctrine.


For information on Russian nuclear testing, see our fact sheet here.

Biological Weapons

  • The Soviet Union maintained an extensive offensive germ weapons program, including research into plague, anthrax, smallpox, tularemia, glanders, and hemorrhagic fever.
  • The United States has repeatedly voiced concern over the status of Russia’s inherited Soviet germ warfare program. However, in 2011, Russia maintained that it is in compliance with the BWC.
  • Nonetheless, the State Department in April 2016 maintained that Russia’s annual BWC confidence-building measures submissions since 1992 have “not satisfactorily documented whether this program was completely destroyed or diverted to peaceful purposes in accordance with Article II of the BWC.”

Chemical Weapons

  • Upon entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on Dec. 5, 1997, Russia declared that it possessed approximately 40,000 metric tons of chemical agents, the largest amount in the world at the time.
  • The State Department stated in 2016 that it “cannot certify that Russia has met its obligations under the Convention: for declaration of its CWPFs [chemical weapons production facilities]; its CW development facilities; or its CW stockpiles.”
  • On Sept. 27, 2017, the OPCW announced that Russia had completed the destruction of its full chemical weapons arsenal.
  • The UK accused Russia of assassinating a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, in the UK using the chemical agent Novichok on March 4, 2018.

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

The United States suspended this treaty on February 1st, 2019, Russia followed suit on February 2nd. Later that year, August 2nd 2019, the United States officially withdrew from the treaty.

For more specific information on the INF Treaty, visit the "INF Treaty at a Glance" fact sheet.


As of February 28th, 2023, Russia has suspended the treaty, believing it to be unilateral and unjustified. Therefore, only the United States participated in the data exchange in March 2023.

For more information on New START, see our fact sheet here.

For more current updates on the future of the treaty, follow ACT reporting.

Conference on Disarmament (CD)

The Conference on Disarmament is made up of 65 member states and is the sole negotiating body for multilateral nuclear disarmament. During these negotiations, Russia has placed some priority on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS).

For more current updates following the CD, follow ACT reporting.

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones

The Russian government has signed and ratified protocols stating its intent to respect and not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against states-parties to the Latin America and South Pacific nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. In 2011 Russia signed and ratified Protocol I and II for the African zone. In 2014, it ratified the protocols for the Central Asian zone but has yet to ratify the protocols for the Southeast Asian zone.

Nuclear Security Summits

Russian participation in Nuclear Security Summits includes the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, DC, the 2012 NSS in Seoul, and the 2014 NSS in The Hague. Russia did not participate in the most recent NSS, held in Washington, DC in 2016.

For more history on these summits, see our fact sheet here.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Russia took part in the negotiation of the July 2015 JCPOA, which limits and rolls back

Iran’s nuclear program. Russia backed the JCPOA on the grounds of supporting nonproliferation

. Furthermore, Russia stands to accrue significant economic gains in Iran with the lifting of nuclear sanctions. For example, in 2016, Russia concluded

the delivery of an S-300 air defense missile system worth $800 million to Iran in a deal that had been suspended since 2010. Russia has continued to support the JCPOA following the Trump administration's violation and withdrawal from the deal in May 2018.

For more information on the JCPOA, visit our fact sheet here.

Syrian Chemical Weapons

In September 2013, in the aftermath of the large-scale use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, Russia reached an agreement with the United States to account for, inspect, control, and eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.

For a detailed timeline on Syrian chemical weapons, see our fact sheet here.

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Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance

June 2023

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102; Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107.

At the dawn of the nuclear age, the United States hoped to maintain a monopoly on its new weapon, but the secrets and the technology for building the atomic bomb soon spread. The United States conducted its first nuclear test explosion in July 1945 and dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945. Just four years later, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test explosion. The United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) followed. Seeking to prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further, the United States and other like-minded countries negotiated the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996.

India, Israel, and Pakistan never signed the NPT and possess nuclear arsenals. Iraq initiated a secret nuclear program under Saddam Hussein before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT in January 2003 and has successfully tested advanced nuclear devices since that time. Iran and Libya have pursued secret nuclear activities in violation of the treaty’s terms, and Syria is suspected of having done the same. Still, nuclear nonproliferation successes outnumber failures, and dire decades-old forecasts that the world would soon be home to dozens of nuclear-armed states have not come to pass.

At the time the NPT was concluded, the nuclear stockpiles of both the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia numbered in the tens of thousands. Beginning in the 1970s, U.S. and Soviet/Russian leaders negotiated a series of bilateral arms control agreements and initiatives that limited, and later helped to reduce, the size of their nuclear arsenals. 

Today, the United States deploys 1,419 and Russia deploys 1,549 strategic warheads on several hundred bombers and missiles, and are modernizing their nuclear delivery systems. Warheads are counted using the provisions of the New START agreement, which was extended for 5 years in January 2021. Russia suspended its participation in the treaty on Feb. 21, 2023; in response, the United States instituted countermeasures limiting information sharing and inspections. However, both the U.S. and Russia have committed to the treaty’s central limits on strategic force deployments until 2026.

New START caps each country at 1,550 strategic deployed warheads and attributes one deployed warhead per deployed heavy bomber, no matter how many warheads each bomber carries. Warheads on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs are counted by the number of re-entry vehicles on the missile. Each re-entry vehicle can carry one warhead.


The United States, Russia, and China also possess smaller numbers of non-strategic (or tactical) nuclear warheads, which are shorter-range, lower-yield weapons that are not subject to any treaty limits.

China, India, and Pakistan are all pursuing new ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. North Korea continues its nuclear pursuits in violation of its earlier denuclearization pledges.

The world's nuclear-armed states possess a combined total of about 12,512 nuclear warheads. 

Nuclear-Weapon States:

The nuclear-weapon states (NWS) are the five states—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—officially recognized as possessing nuclear weapons by the NPT. The treaty recognizes these states’ nuclear arsenals, but under Article VI of the NPT, they are not supposed to build and maintain such weapons in perpetuity. In 2000, the NWS committed themselves to an “unequivocal undertaking…to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.” Because of the secretive nature with which most governments treat information about their nuclear arsenals, most of the figures below are best estimates of each nuclear-weapon state’s nuclear holdings, including both strategic warheads and shorter-range and lower-yield nuclear bombs, generally referred to as tactical nuclear weapons.


  • According to the September 2022 New START declaration, Russia deploys 1,549 strategic warheads on 540 strategic delivery systems (intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers). Due to Russia’s suspension of the New START Treaty in February 2022, it did not fulfill its treaty obligations to provide updated data. However, both Russia and the United States have committed to adhering by treaty limits until 2026. 
  • The U.S. intelligence community assesses that, as of December 2022, Russia also maintains an arsenal of 1000-2000 non-strategic nuclear warheads not limited by the New START Treaty. 
  • The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) estimates that Russia's military stockpile consists of approximately 4,489 nuclear warheads, with 1,400 additional retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, as of May 2023.

United States

  • According to the March 2023 New START declaration, the United States deploys 1,419 strategic nuclear warheads on 662 strategic delivery systems (intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers).
  • The United States also has an estimated 100 B-61 nuclear gravity bombs that are forward-deployed at six NATO bases in five European countries: Aviano and Ghedi in Italy; Büchel in Germany; Incirlik in Turkey; Kleine Brogel in Belgium; and Volkel in the Netherlands. 
  • On October 5, 2021, the U.S. State Department issued a declassification announcement indicating that the total number of U.S. “active” and “inactive” warheads is 3,750 as of September 2020. The stockpile figures do not include retired warheads and those awaiting dismantlement. FAS estimates the current military stockpile stands at 3708 warheads, with 1,536 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, for a total of 5,244 warheads as of early 2023.


  • Independent researchers estimate that China has approximately 410 nuclear warheads for delivery by land-based ballistic missiles, sea-based ballistic missiles, and bombers. Of that total, they estimate China has approximately 201 strategic launchers (intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.) Additional warheads are thought to be in production to eventually arm additional road-mobile and silo-based missiles and bombers.
  • Since the 1990s, China has continually modernized its nuclear forces, though the number and types of weapons fielded have expanded significantly in recent years. As of October 2023, the Defense Department assessed that China has a total of 500 nuclear weapons and, if it remains on its current trajectory, may have up to 1000 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2030.


  • France has a military stockpile of 290 operational warheads available for deployment on 98 strategic delivery systems, as of January 2022. This consists of 48 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and 50 air-launched cruise missiles allocated for dual-capable land and carrier-based fighter aircraft. 
  • The French government has committed to a long-term modernization program for its nuclear forces but does not plan to increase the size of its nuclear stockpile. 

United Kingdom

  • As of January 2022, the United Kingdom has a military stockpile of 225 warheads, of which an estimated 120 are operationally available for deployment on 48 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and 105 are in storage. 
  • The United Kingdom possesses a total of four Vanguard-class Trident nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, which together form its exclusively sea-based nuclear deterrent. 

Non-NPT Nuclear Weapons Possessors:

India, Pakistan, and Israel never joined the NPT and are known to possess nuclear weapons. India first tested a nuclear explosive device in 1974. That test spurred Pakistan to ramp up work on its secret nuclear weapons program. India and Pakistan both publicly demonstrated their nuclear weapon capabilities with a round of tit-for-tat nuclear tests in May 1998. Israel has not publicly conducted a nuclear test but is universally believed to possess nuclear arms. 

The following arsenal estimates are based on the amount of fissile material—highly enriched uranium and plutonium—that each of the states is estimated to have produced. Fissile material is the key element for making nuclear weapons. India and Israel are believed to use plutonium in their weapons, while Pakistan is thought to use highly enriched uranium.




  • Israel is estimated to have 90 nuclear warheads, with fissile material stockpiles of over 200.
  • Israel does not admit nor deny having nuclear weapons, and states that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Nevertheless, Israel is universally believed to possess nuclear arms stored in a partially disassembled state, although it is unclear exactly how many.

States that Declared Their Withdrawal from the NPT:

North Korea joined the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state but announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003 --a move that has not been legally recognized by the other NPT member states. North Korea has tested nuclear devices and nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Uncertainty persists about how many nuclear devices North Korea has assembled.

North Korea

  • North Korea is estimated to have approximately 30 nuclear warheads and likely possesses additional fissile material that is not weaponized.
  • There is a high degree of uncertainty surrounding North Korea's fissile material stockpile and production. 
  • North Korea operates its 5-megawatt heavy-water graphite-moderated reactor to extract plutonium for its nuclear warheads and has done so on an intermittent basis since August 2013. North Korea has uranium enrichment technology and a known uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon. It likely operates additional covert uranium enrichment facilities at other locations. 

States of Immediate Proliferation Concern:

Prior to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran pursued a uranium enrichment program and other projects that provided it with the capability to produce weapons-grade fissile material and develop nuclear weapons, if it chose to do so. Since 2019, Iran has taken steps to breach limits put in place by the JCPOA and expanded its uranium enrichment program beyond its pre-JCPOA capacity. Tehran maintains that it does not intend to pursue nuclear weapons and that its actions are a response to the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions. Iran continues to implement its comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA, but suspended its additional protocol and certain JCPOA-specific measures in February 2021.


  • Iran has accumulated enough uranium enriched to 60 percent to build a nuclear weapon, but the warhead would be large, unwieldy, and inconsistent with the weapons-related work Iran did prior to 2003. Iran has not accumulated or enriched uranium to weapons-grade levels (90 percent). 
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the institution charged with verifying that states are not illicitly building nuclear weapons, concluded in a 2015 report that Iran had an organized nucler weapons program prior to 2003, including activities related to uranium enrichment that should have been declared to the agency, and continued some weapons-relevant experiments through 2009. There was no evidence of weapons-related work after 2009, according to the IAEA.
  • On July 2015, Iran and the “P5+1” (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) negotiated a long-term agreement to verify and significantly reduce Iran's capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons.
  • As part of this agreement, the IAEA and Iran concluded an investigation into Iran’s past nuclear weapons-related activities. The agency concluded that Iran had an organized program to pursue nuclear weapons prior to 2003. Some of these activities continued through 2009, but there were no indications of weaponization activities taking place after that date.
  • On May 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA. Iran began to violate the accord a year later. The United States and Iran have not yet reached an interim agreement to replace the JCPOA. Continued coverage of the JCPOA can be found in Arms Control Today and the P4+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert

States That Had Nuclear Weapons or Nuclear Weapons Programs at One Time:

  • Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine inherited nuclear weapons following the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse but returned them to Russia and joined the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states.
  • The apartheid South African government secretly developed a small number of nuclear weapons. South Africa joined the NPT in 1991 and dismantled its entire nuclear weapons program prior to its transition to a multi-racial democracy in 1994. 
  • Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War but was forced to verifiably dismantle it under the supervision of UN inspectors. The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 under the Bush administration’s rationale of preventing Iraq from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. However, Iraq’s nuclear program had remained dormant since its dismantlement in the 1990s and the country did not have ready stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.  
  • Libya voluntarily renounced its secret nuclear weapons efforts in December 2003.
  • Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, Sweden, Australia, and Taiwan also once pursued nuclear weapons programs.

Sources: Arms Control Association, Federation of American Scientists, International Panel on Fissile Materials, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

Subject Resources:

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: The United Kingdom

July 2019

The United Kingdom maintains an arsenal of 215 nuclear weapons and has reduced its deployed strategic warheads to 120, which are fielded solely by its Vanguard-class submarines under its maritime-only deterrence strategy. The UK is actively reducing its nuclear stockpile and plans to reach 180 nuclear weapons by the mid-2020s, which will represent a 65 percent reduction since the height of the Cold War. The British government’s standard practice is to have one submarine on deterrent patrol at any given time, though it claims the missiles are not on alert and would take several days of preparation before launching.


Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Ballistic Missile Defense Systems
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record
  • Nuclear Doctrine

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)


Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties




Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty



Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty



Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)



CPPNM 2005 Amendment



Chemical Weapons Convention



Biological Weapons Convention



International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism



Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards



Australia Group


Missile Technology Control Regime


Nuclear Suppliers Group


Wassenaar Arrangement


International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol

Signatory, entered into force in 2004

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism


Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation


Proliferation Security Initiative


UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673

The United Kingdom has filed the requested reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states

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Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview

The United Kingdom (UK), as of July 2019, maintains a military stockpile of 200 nuclear weapons for its sea-only deterrent, with 120 of those warheads deployed, of which no more than 40 are at sea on Vanguard-class submarines at any given time.
The UK has the smallest deployed arsenal of the nuclear weapons states and has committed to reducing its nuclear stockpile. In October 2010, the UK government announced plans to reduce its total nuclear weapons stockpile to 180 weapons by the mid-2020s. It reaffirmed this commitment in its 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), which outlines the UK’s strategy through 2025, and is currently iterated on the UK government nuclear deterrence fact sheet which was last updated in February 2018. 
Upon successful reduction down to 180 nuclear warheads, the UK will have achieved a 65 percent reduction in the size of its overall nuclear stockpiles since the height of the Cold War. The UK is currently undergoing a nuclear arsenal modernization program, primarily to replace its Vanguard-class submarines with the Dreadnought-class submarines by the early 2030s

Delivery Systems

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

  • The United Kingdom does not possess ICBMs.

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM)


  • The British military currently operates four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). Each submarine is capable of carrying 16 Trident D5 missiles and each of these missiles carry up to three 100 kiloton warheads. As of 2019, each submarine carries a maximum of eight Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
  • One submarine is always out at sea on deterrent patrol. The missiles aboard the Vanguard, however, are not on alert and require several days of preparation prior to launching.
  • The Vanguard SSBNs are housed at Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde off the shore of Gare Loch in Scotland.
  • At the cornerstone of the UK’s nuclear weapons modernization ambitions, the British government is to replace the Vanguard-class submarines with what was formerly known as the Successor submarine program. This new submarine was named the Dreadnought-class in October 2016, and is expected to have a lifespan of at least 30 years. According to a November 2018 report by BASIC Institute, the UK government has estimated that the Dreadnought program will cost £31 billion with an additional £10 billion contingency. Over the 30-year lifetime of a new system that emerges into service in 2031, the total in-service costs could range between £71.4 billion and £140.5 billion. 
  • In June 2012, the British government awarded a contract to Rolls-Royce to build two new nuclear submarine reactor cores. The second of these cores is for the first Successor class vessel.
  • In October 2016, construction of the first new submarine began under BAE Systems and has been named the HMS Dreadnought. The Dreadnought will be the Royal Navy’s largest-ever submarine at 17,200 metric tons, 1,300 metric tonnes heavier than the Vanguard. It will be only be fitted with 12 missile tubes for the Trident D5 instead of 16.
  • The British Royal Navy has announced that the Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarines will be named: HMS King George VI, HMS Dreadnought, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite.
  • There exists debate over whether or not to carry out this program. Opposition to modernization plans are chiefly due to its high cost (it is slated to be the largest British military project in history), time commitment, prevailing pro-disarmament sentiments, and safety concerns.
  • Scottish, Welsh, and Irish nationalist parties are also generally pro-disarmament. In addition, the future of the UK’s nuclear weapons could have been jeopardized by the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 as its nuclear submarines are housed at HMNB Clyde in Scotland and the Scottish Nationalist Party vowed to scrap the Vanguard-class submarines if Scotland obtained independence.
Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs):
  • British nuclear warheads are only deployed on submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
  • The United Kingdom maintains one type of ballistic missile system in its arsenal for delivering nuclear warheads: the U.S.-leased Trident II (D5) SLBM, which has an estimated range of roughly 7,400-12,000 kilometers. The UK’s Trident D5 missiles are equipped with British warheads similar to the United States’ W76 100 kilotons warheads.
  • The Trident D5 is planned to remain in service until the early 2040s following a life extension program. Decisions for a replacement warhead have been deferred until later this decade and the current warhead is expected to last into the late 2030s.

Strategic Bombers

  • The United Kingdom does not possess nuclear capable aircraft.
  • Britain’s dismantlement of the Royal Air Force’s gravity based nuclear bombs in 1998 marked the beginning of its maritime-only deterrence strategy.

Ballistic Missile Defense Systems

The United Kingdom is part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), a collective missile defense system operated by NATO allies. To learn more, see: "The European Phased Adaptive Approach at a Glance."

Fissile Material

  • In April 1995, the UK ceased production of separated plutonium and the British government declared that it no longer produces fissile material for weapons.

Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

  • The UK halted the production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in 1963. As of January 2019, the British government is estimated to maintain a military stockpile of approximately 3.2 metric tons of plutonium and 21.2 metric tons of HEU.
  • The UK's civilan stockpile of HEU is roughly 1.4 metric tons.


  • The United Kingdom possesses the world’s largest stockpile of civilian plutonium, with over 110.3 metric tons designated for this purpose, as of February 2018.
  • As of 2018, the UK has two reprocessing plants. The B205 plutonium reprocessing plant, which reprocesses fuel from the Magnox reactors in Sellafield, England, is expected to be fully decommissioned by 2020. The Thermal Oxide Reprocessing plant (THORP) which reprocesses mixed oxide fuel is on track to be shut down, as announced by the UK government in November 2018. 
  • According to the Houses of Parliament 2016 report, “Managing the UK Plutonium Stockpile,” the country stores approximately 23 metric tons of foreign-owned plutonium, the majority of which belongs to Japan.

Proliferation Record

  • The UK is not known to have deliberately or significantly contributed to the spread of biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons to other states.
  • The UK is, officially, an active promoter of nonproliferation and is a leading member in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Zangger Committee as well as the Proliferation Security Initiative.
  • The UK has been involved in both Iranian and Libyan nonproliferation processes and continues to support the creation of an effective and verifiable chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.   

Nuclear Doctrine
In its 2015 Strategic Defense and Security Review document, the British government reaffirmed a commitment not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) subject to certain conditions regarding their behavior and alliances. Nevertheless, this 2015 document notes that the government reserves the right to “review this assurance if the future threat, development or proliferation of these weapons make it necessary.” The document also states that “We will continue to keep our nuclear posture under constant review in the light of the international security environment and the actions of potential adversaries.” London refuses to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons, but has stated that it would only employ such arms in self-defense and “even then only in extreme circumstances.”

The 2015 Strategic Defense and Security Review also states that “we will remain deliberately ambiguous about precisely when, how and at what scale we would contemplate their use, in order to not simplify the calculations of any potential aggressor.”

The British government’s standard practice is to have one submarine on deterrent patrol at any given time. The government claims the missiles aboard the submarine are not on alert and that launching a missile would take several days of preparation.

TestingThe United Kingdom has conducted 45 nuclear weapon tests. The first test occurred on October 3, 1952, and the last took place November 26, 1991. The United Kingdom was the third country to conduct a nuclear test. 

Biological Weapons

  • The United Kingdom had an active biological warfare program from 1934 to 1956.
  • As part of that program, the United Kingdom weaponized anthrax and researched plague, typhoid fever, and botulinum toxin.
  • The United Kingdom ratified the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) in March 1975 and has reaffirmed its support for the BWC in 2005.
  • Today, the British government operates an extensive and sophisticated defensive program that includes research on potentially offensive pathogens.

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Chemical Weapons

  • During World War I, the United Kingdom produced an arsenal of chlorine and mustard gases.
  • In 1957 the UK abandoned its chemical weapons program and has since eradicated its stockpiles.
  • The UK ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1996 and has provided financial assistance to countries such as Russia, in 2001, to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles.

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Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Conference on Disarmament (CD)
The United Kingdom regularly participates in the CD, established in 1979 by the international community as a multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. In July 2009, the British government announced its report on nuclear nonproliferation entitled “The Road to 2010” at the CD. In 2010, the UK called for negotiations on an Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) to be moved to the United Nations General Assembly where it could be endorsed by a majority vote.  

In 2016, the UK proposed the creation of a working group and program of work to discuss effective disarmament measures. In 2019, at the first CD session in February the United Kingdom was the president of the Conference, the first time since 2008. Following the conclusion of its presidency, the UK Ambassador to the CD noted in a blog that the proposal to adopt “Subsidiary Bodies” for each of the ‘core items’ of CD business failed due to six nations who refused to endorse it. He lamented that, “A third of the way through the 2019 session, there’s no plan in place for conducting detailed discussions on the core issues.”

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
The United Kingdom has ratified protocols to the Latin American and the Caribbean, South Pacific, African, and Central Asian nuclear weapons free zone treaties pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the treaty's member states. However, the UK maintains reservations to each of these protocols. It has not ratified the Southeast Asia nuclear weapons free zone treaty.  At a March 19 event, Ambassador David Hall stressed the UK’s continued commitment towards the establishment of the zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction (WMDFZ) in the Middle East as well as its readiness to engage in a “renewed, inclusive, balanced, and results-oriented dialogue,” highlighting a option to reconvene a regional conference based on the 2010 NPT mandate, while emphasizing that the UK would not support initiatives which excluded “any states in the region.”

Nuclear Security Summits
British participation in the Nuclear Security Summits includes the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, DC, the 2012 NSS in Seoul, the 2014 NSS in The Hague, and the 2016 NSS held again in Washington, DC.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

London has engaged in a series of nonproliferation negotiations with Iran, including the most recent rounds of the P5+1 talks over Iran’s nuclear activities. The British government supported ratcheting up sanctions on Iran to persuade it to halt certain activities, particularly uranium enrichment. This included a European Union-wide ban on importing Iranian oil that went into effect July 1, 2012. The UK participated in negotiations on the JCPOA in July 2015 which both limits Iran’s nuclear program and puts in place more intrusive monitoring mechanisms in exchange for sanctions relief. Then Prime Minister David Cameron said that the deal would "make our world a safer place." Despite the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the deal “should stay in place.”
In January 2019, France and Germany and the United Kingdom established the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to facilitate trade with Iran. INSTEX was designed to create a financial channel to Iran immune from U.S. sanctions reimposed when the Trump administration withdrew from the deal.

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Country Profiles

Country Resources:

Fact Sheet Categories:

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: France

July 2019

As a nuclear-weapons state under the NPT, France maintains the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, estimated to include 300 nuclear warheads. Since it eliminated its land-based ICBMs beginning in 1996, 80 percent of these warheads are designed for delivery through SLBMs, with the remainder affixed to ALCMs carried by strategic bombers. France has taken significant steps toward disarmament—including halving its warhead total since its Cold War peak, no longer deploying nuclear weapons on its aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, and extending the time it takes to launch nuclear weapons to several days—and it adheres to a principle of “strict sufficiency” whereby it keeps its nuclear arsenal at the lowest possible level in accordance with the strategic context.


Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Ballistic Missile Defense Systems
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record
  • Nuclear Doctrine

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties




Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty



Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty



Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)



CPPNM 2005 Amendment



Chemical Weapons Convention



Biological Weapons Convention



International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism



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Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards



Australia Group


Missile Technology Control Regime


Nuclear Suppliers Group


Wassenaar Arrangement


International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol

Signatory, entered into force in April 2004

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism


Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation


Proliferation Security Initiative


UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673

France has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states

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Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview

France maintains the third largest nuclear weapons force in the world. As of January 2019, France possesses approximately 300 nuclear warheads, most of which are designed for delivery by submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with the remainder affixed to air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) carried by strategic bombers.
Former French President François Hollande publicly affirmed the size of the arsenal in February of 2015 when he said that France’s stockpile included 300 warheads for 48 SLBMs and 54 cruise missiles. Estimates place France’s deployed strategic warhead numbers at around 290, with a remaining 10 in reserve. Although France has reduced the size of its nuclear arsenal by half since the Cold War, the current stockpile has remained relatively stable over the last few decades. In 2008, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that France’s arsenal would be reduced below 300 warheads but also reaffirmed France’s commitment to its nuclear deterrent, declaring it as a “life-insurance policy.” This goal was reaffirmed by former President Francois Hollande in 2015 and current President Emmanuel Macron in 2017.
Although France’s aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, does not have nuclear-capable ASMPA missiles permanently onboard, there are reserve missiles that can be “rapidly deployed” on the carrier in the case of nuclear operations. France continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal and develop new missiles. According to the French Ministry of Defense (MoD), the nuclear deterrence budget in 2016 was 3.6 billion euros. In 2018, the French government announced it would allocate 25 Billion Euros to its nuclear forces between 2019 and 2023.

Delivery Systems

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

  • In 1996, France decided to eliminate its nuclear-armed land-based ballistic missiles.

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM)


  • As of January 2019, France’s nuclear submarine force consists of 4 Triomphant- class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs): Le Triomphant, Le Téméraire, Le Vigilant, and Le Terrible, which are under the command of FOST (La Force Océanique Stratégique or Strategic Ocrean Force).
  • This fleet forms the backbone of the France’s nuclear deterrent and carries approximately 80 percent of the nuclear arsenal. It is based at the Île Longue peninsula, south of Brest in the Brittany region of France.
  • At least one submarine remains on deterrence patrol, one is preparing for patrol, and one is returning to port. The fourth submarine, as per the Triomphant-class’ extensive maintenance cycle, will be undergoing overhaul at any given time. 
  • A third generation submarine class, the SNLE-3G, is expected to enter development between the 2019-2025 planning period and replace the Triomphant-class, which will reach the end of their service life by 2035.

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs)

  • France fields the following submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs):
    • M51.1 – The French reportedly have 32 M51.1 missiles carrying, carrying a total of 160 TN75 warheads. Each missile can carry up to six 100 kt multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), with a range of 6,000+ km.
    • M51.2 – The French reportedly have 16 M51.2 missiles, carrying a total of 80 TNO warheads. The TNO (tête nucléaire océanique) warheads are a reportedly stealthier warhead than the TN75. The M51.2 was flight tested in July 2016 and then declared operational in December 2017. Each missile can carry up to six new 150 kt TN MIRVs, with a range of 6,000+ km. All boats are to be upgraded to teh 51.2 by 2020.
    • M51.3 – In a joint venture, Airbus and Safran are developing the M51.3, which is scheduled for completion by 2025.
  • In 2006, former President Jacques Chirac stated that "The number of nuclear warheads has been reduced in certain of the missiles in our submarines," implying that French SLBMs do not carry the maximum number of nuclear warheads. This decision was supposedly made to improve targeting flexibility against regional powers, as well as the range and precision of the missile.

Strategic Bombers

  • As of January 2019, the French Air Force operates 40 Rafale aircraft which are capable of carrying and delivering nuclear payloads.
  • France’s Naval Force also operates a nuclear-capable squadron of Rafale MF3 aircraft that are stationed onboard the Charles de Gaulle, France’s only aircraft carrier and the only surface ship equipped for carrying nuclear weapons in NATO.
  • Rafale aircraft carry a 300 kt warhead on an Air-Sol Moyenne Portée -Amelioreor Plus (ASMPA) ALCM. The ASMPA has a range of around 500 km.
  • In April 2019, France and Germany jointly announced a joint effort to develop a sixth-generation combat aircraft with potential nuclear capabilities.

Ballistic Missile Defense Systems

France is part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), a collective missile defense system operated by NATO allies. To learn more, see: "The European Phased Adaptive Approach at a Glance."

Fissile Material

Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

  • After ending its production of HEU in June 1996, President Jacques Chirac announced in February 1996 that France no longer produced fissile material for weapons purposes and that would it would dismantle its fissile material production facilities.
  • As of February 2018, France is believed to possess an HEU stockpile of around 31± 6 metric tons.
  • As of February 2018, it is estimated that France holds approximately 26 ± 6 metric tons of military HEU. There exists significant uncertainty over this figure due to a lack of public information about French HEU production.
  • In December 2014, France declared a 4.8 metric ton stockpile of civilian HEU to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). A large percentage of this civilian stock is believed to be of U.S. and Russian origin for use in research-reactor fuel. This amount is believed to be stable.


  • France ceased its production of separated plutonium in 1992.
  • As of February 2018, France is estimated to possess a military plutonium stockpile of 6±1 metric tons.
  • As of October 2017, France reported holding 81.7 tons of domestic unirradiated plutonium, the second largest stockpile globally, and 16.3 metric tons of reprocessed foreign unirradiated plutonium, of which 16.2 meric tons belongs to Japan.
  • France is one of the few countries that continues to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, and it accepts fuel from foreign countries for that purpose. Its AREVA La Hague plant has a commercial reprocessing capacity of about 1,700 tons of used nuclear fuel per annum (around half of the world’s light water reactor fuel reprocessing capacity as of 2009), as of 2018.  France uses separated plutonium to fabricate mixed oxide (MOX) fuel that is used in light water reactors.

 Proliferation Record

  • France officially maintains a long-standing position in support of nonproliferation activities.
  • In 1957, France signed a major nuclear cooperation agreement with Israel even though it was generally understood that Israel was interested in potentially developing a nuclear arsenal. France halted the agreement in 1960.
  • France built the Osirak reactor in Iraq despite warnings from other governments that the reactor might be used to support a secret Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Paris declined to rebuild the reactor after Israel bombed the plant in 1981.
  • France remains among the world’s top suppliers of peaceful nuclear facilities and expertise.

Nuclear Doctrine

French nuclear policy is one of calculated ambiguity regarding first-use of nuclear weapons.  France adheres to its principle of “strict sufficiency” whereby it keeps its nuclear arsenal at the lowest possible level in accordance with the strategic context. In its 2013 White Paper on Defence and National Security, France claims that its deterrence strategy is strictly defensive and that “The use of nuclear weapons would only be conceivable in extreme circumstances of legitimate self-defense” and that nuclear deterrence “protects France from any State-led aggression against its vital interests, of whatever origin and in whatever form” including terrorism. French Presidents Hollande and Macron both reiterated this nuclear doctrine. In May 2015, France reaffirmed the 1995 negative security assurance to the UN (Resolution 984) not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) unless it is facing an invasion or sustained attack against its territories, armed forces, or states with which it has security agreement and the attack is in alliance with a nuclear-weapon state.

Paris declared that it took steps in 1992 and 1996 to extend the time it takes to launch nuclear weapons. It is believed that France needs several days in order to launch nuclear weapons.


France conducted 210 nuclear tests. The first test occurred Feb.13, 1960, and the last test took place Jan. 27, 1996. France was the fourth country to conduct a nuclear weapon test.

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Biological Weapons

  • Little is known about past French biological weapons activities, which reportedly included research on anthrax, botulinum toxin, cholera, ricin, rinderpest, and salmonella over two periods: 1921 to 1926, and 1935 to 1940.
  • France is not suspected of having a current offensive biological weapons program, and under France’s 1972 Law on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons, it is illegal to produce or stockpile these weapons. They are believed to have stopped their program after WWII.
  • France continues to uphold its 2004 Code of Defense states that “The development, production, possession, stockpiling, acquisition, and transfer of microbiological agents, other biological agents and biological toxins, whatever their origin and mode of production, which are of a kind and quantity not suited for prophylactic, protection or other pacific purposes, are prohibited.”
  • France acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) on Sep. 27, 1984, and is also member of the Australia Group.
  • France annually submits reports as confidence-building measures under the BWC and encourages other states to follow suit. It also hosts the annual plenary meeting of the Australia Group.
  • France maintains a biodefense program that it claims is in strict compliance with the BWC.

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Chemical Weapons

  • During World War I, France produced and used mustard gas and phosgene. France maintained stockpiles of these weapons at the beginning of World War II but did not use them.
  • After World War II, France resumed offensive chemical weapons research and testing, and in the 1960s they manufactured Sarin and VX nerve agents.
  • France destroyed its stockpiles of chemical weapons prior to 1988. President François Mitterrand claimed, in a 1988 speech to the United Nations, that France no longer had any chemical weapons and ended production.
  • France signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in Paris in 1993 and ratified it in 1995. It also holds that it displays “exemplary” cooperation with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Conference on Disarmament (CD)      
The CD was formed in 1979 as a multilateral disarmament negotiation forum for the international community. France has regularly participated in its meetings. On April 9th, 2015, France formally deposited a draft fissile material cutoff treaty at the CD. 

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
France has signed and ratified additional protocols pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any of the contracting parties to the African, Central Asian, Latin American and Caribbean, and South Pacific nuclear weapons free zone treaties. However, France maintains reservations to each of these protocols. No states have signed or ratified the Southeast Asian nuclear weapons free zone treaty protocol.

Nuclear Security Summits
In keeping with its official stance in support of securing nuclear material around the world, France has  participated in the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) held in Washington, DC, the 2012 NSS held in Seoul, the 2014 NSS Held in The Hague, and the 2016 NSS held again in Washington, DC.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Since its initiation of nuclear talks with Iran in 2003, France has engaged in several rounds of multilateral diplomacy with Tehran over its nuclear program, including P5+1 talks with Iran that resulted in the 2015 JCPOA. After its conclusion, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the deal would be sufficiently “robust” for another 10 years.
Following American withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, President Macron said “I regret the decision of the American president. I think it’s an error.” In January 2019, France and Germany and the United Kingdom established the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to facilitate trade with Iran. INSTEX was designed to create a financial channel to Iran immune from U.S. sanctions reimposed when the Trump administration withdrew from the deal.

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Chronology of U.S.-North Korean Nuclear and Missile Diplomacy, 1985-2022

July 2020


Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

For years, the United States and the international community have tried to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and its export of ballistic missile technology. Those efforts have been replete with periods of crisis, stalemate, and tentative progress towards denuclearization, and North Korea has long been a key challenge for the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.

The United States has pursued a variety of policy responses to the proliferation challenges posed by North Korea, including military cooperation with U.S. allies in the region, wide-ranging sanctions, and non-proliferation mechanisms such as export controls. The United States also engaged in two major diplomatic initiatives to have North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons efforts in return for aid.

In 1994, faced with North Korea’s announced intent to withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which requires non-nuclear weapon states to forswear the development and acquisition of nuclear weapons, the United States and North Korea signed the Agreed Framework. Under this agreement, Pyongyang committed to freezing its illicit plutonium weapons program in exchange for aid.

Following the collapse of this agreement in 2002, North Korea claimed that it had withdrawn from the NPT in January 2003 and once again began operating its nuclear facilities.

The second major diplomatic effort were the Six-Party Talks initiated in August of 2003 which involved China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. In between periods of stalemate and crisis, those talks arrived at critical breakthroughs in 2005, when North Korea pledged to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs” and return to the NPT, and in 2007, when the parties agreed on a series of steps to implement that 2005 agreement.

Those talks, however, broke down in 2009 following disagreements over verification and an internationally condemned North Korea rocket launch. Pyongyang has since stated that it would never return to the talks and is no longer bound by their agreements. The other five parties state that they remain committed to the talks, and have called for Pyongyang to recommit to its 2005 denuclearization pledge.

In January 2018, another diplomatic effort began when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared the country's nuclear arsenal "complete" and offered to discuss with Seoul North Korea's participation in the South Korean Olympics. North Korea's delegation to the Olympics included Kim Jong Un's sister, who met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. That meeting led to a sustained inter-Korean dialouge, including a meeting between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in April 27 that produced a declaration referencing the shared goal of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

During a high-level meeting with South Korean officials in Pyongyang in March 2018, Kim Jong Un conveyed his interest in meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump accepted the offer and the two leaders met three months later in Singapore, signing a joint statement seeking a more stable bilateral relationship and greater cooperation toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. In the months following the Trump-Kim summit, joint exercises between the South Korean and U.S. militaries paused, inter-Korean dialogue ramped up, North Korea began dismantling testing and assembly facilities, and the remains of some U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War were returned home.

All the same, only two months after the Singapore summit, the IAEA reported developments in North Korea’s nuclear program were “cause for grave concern.” Trump and Kim made little progress on denuclearization in a subsequent meeting in Hanoi in 2019, with the United States maintaining its sanctions and North Korea conducting more rocket and ballistic missile tests. Washington’s newest era of good feelings with Pyongyang began to crack as both sides became increasingly frustrated with one another, with the North Korean foreign minister in June 2020 accusing the Trump administration of pursuing diplomacy only for domestic political gains. Pyongyang continues to stonewall the Biden administration’s efforts to revisit negotiations while dramatically increasing the pace of its missile tests.


The following chronology summarizes in greater detail developments in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and the efforts to end them, since 1985.

Skip to: 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 20192020


December 12, 1985: North Korea accedes to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) but does not complete a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Under Article III of the NPT, North Korea has 18 months to conclude such an arrangement. In coming years, North Korea links adherence to this provision of the treaty to the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from South Korea.


September 27, 1991: President George Bush announces the unilateral withdrawal of all naval and land-based tactical nuclear weapons deployed abroad. Approximately 100 U.S. nuclear weapons had been based in South Korea. Eight days later, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev reciprocates.

November 8, 1991: In response to President Bush’s unilateral move, President Roh Tae Woo of South Korea announces the Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, under which South Korea promises not to produce, possess, store, deploy, or use nuclear weapons. In addition, the declaration unilaterally prohibits South Korea from possessing nuclear reprocessing or uranium enrichment facilities. These promises, if enacted, would satisfy all of North Korea’s conditions for allowing IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities.


January 20, 1992: The two Koreas sign the South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Under the declaration, both countries agree not to “test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons” or to “possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities.” They also agree to mutual inspections for verification.

January 30, 1992: More than six years after signing the NPT, North Korea concludes a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

March 6, 1992: The United States imposes sanctions on North Korea’s Lyongaksan Machineries and Equipment Export Corporation and Changgwang Sinyong Corporation for missile proliferation activities.

April 9, 1992: North Korea ratifies the safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

May 4, 1992: North Korea submits its nuclear material declarations to the IAEA, declaring seven sites and some 90 grams of plutonium that could be subject to IAEA inspection. Pyongyang claims that the nuclear material was the result of reprocessing 89 defective fuel rods in 1989. The IAEA conducted inspections to verify the completeness of this declaration from mid-1992 to early 1993.

June 23, 1992: The United States imposes “missile sanctions” on the North Korean entities sanctioned in March.

September 1992: IAEA inspectors discover discrepancies in North Korea’s “initial report” on its nuclear program and ask for clarification on several issues, including the amount of reprocessed plutonium in North Korea.


February 9, 1993: The IAEA demands special inspections of two sites that are believed to store nuclear waste. The request is based on strong evidence that North Korea has been cheating on its commitments under the NPT. North Korea refuses the IAEA’s request.

March 12, 1993: Amid demands for special inspections, North Korea announces its intention to withdraw from the NPT in three months, citing Article X provisions that allow withdrawal for supreme national security considerations.

April 1, 1993: The IAEA declares that North Korea is not adhering to its safeguards agreement and that it cannot guarantee that North Korean nuclear material is not being diverted for nonpeaceful uses.

June 11, 1993: Following talks with the United States in New York, North Korea suspends its decision to pull out of the NPT just before the withdrawal would have become legally effective. North Korea also agrees to the full and impartial application of IAEA safeguards.

For its part, the United States grants assurances against the threat and use of force, including nuclear weapons. Washington also promises not to interfere with North Korea’s internal affairs.

July 19, 1993: After a second round of talks with the United States, North Korea announces in a joint statement that it is “prepared to begin consultations with the IAEA on outstanding safeguards and other issues” and that it is ready to negotiate IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities. The joint statement also indicates that Pyongyang might consider a deal with the United States to replace its graphite nuclear reactors with light-water reactors (LWRs), which are proliferation resistant.

Late 1993: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency estimate that North Korea had separated about 12 kilograms of plutonium. This amount is enough for at least one or two nuclear weapons.


January 1994: The director of the CIA estimates that North Korea may have produced one or two nuclear weapons.

February 15, 1994: North Korea finalizes an agreement with the IAEA to allow inspections of all seven of its declared nuclear facilities, averting sanctions by the United Nations Security Council.

March 1, 1994: IAEA inspectors arrive in North Korea for the first inspections since 1993.

March 21, 1994: Responding to North Korea’s refusal to allow the inspection team to inspect a plutonium reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, the IAEA Board of Governors approves a resolution calling on North Korea to “immediately allow the IAEA to complete all requested inspection activities and to comply fully with its safeguards agreements.”

May 19, 1994: The IAEA confirms that North Korea has begun removing spent fuel from its 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor even though international monitors were not present. The United States and the IAEA had insisted that inspectors be present for any such action because spent fuel can potentially be reprocessed for use in nuclear weapons.

June 13, 1994: North Korea announces its withdrawal from the IAEA. This is distinct from pulling out of the NPT—North Korea is still required to undergo IAEA inspections as part of its NPT obligations. The IAEA contends that North Korea’s safeguards agreement remains in force. However, North Korea no longer participates in IAEA functions as a member state.

June 15, 1994: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiates a deal with North Korea in which Pyongyang confirms its willingness to “freeze” its nuclear weapons program and resume high-level talks with the United States. Bilateral talks are expected to begin, provided that North Korea allows the IAEA safeguards to remain in place, does not refuel its 5-megawatt nuclear reactor, and does not reprocess any spent nuclear fuel.

July 9, 1994: North Korean President Kim Il Sung dies and is succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il.

August 12, 1994: An “agreed statement” is signed that establishes a three-stage process for the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. In return, the United States promises to move toward normalized economic and diplomatic relations and assures North Korea that it will provide assistance with the construction of proliferation-resistant LWRs to replace North Korea’s graphite-moderated reactors.

October 21, 1994: The United States and North Korea conclude four months of negotiations by adopting the “Agreed Framework” in Geneva. To resolve U.S. concerns about Pyongyang’s plutonium-producing reactors and the Yongbyon reprocessing facility, the agreement calls for North Korea to freeze and eventually eliminate its nuclear facilities, a process that will require dismantling three nuclear reactors, two of which are still under construction. North Korea also allows the IAEA to verify compliance through “special inspections,” and it agrees to allow 8,000 spent nuclear reactor fuel elements to be removed to a third country.

In exchange, Pyongyang will receive two LWRs and annual shipments of heavy fuel oil during construction of the reactors. The LWRs will be financed and constructed through the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), a multinational consortium.

Calling for movement toward full normalization of political and economic relations, the accord also serves as a jumping-off point for U.S.-North Korean dialogue on Pyongyang’s development and export of ballistic missiles, as well as other issues of bilateral concern.

November 28, 1994: The IAEA announces that it had confirmed that construction has been halted at North Korea’s Nyongbyon and Taochon nuclear facilities and that these facilities are not operational.


March 9, 1995:KEDO is formed in New York with the United States, South Korea, and Japan as the organization’s original members.


January 1996: North Korea agrees in principle to a meeting on missile proliferation issues, which had been requested in a letter by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Thomas Hubbard. However, Pyongyang contends that the United States would have to ease economic sanctions before it could agree on a date and venue for the talks.

In testimony before a House International Relations subcommittee on March 19, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Winston Lord says that Washington is willing to ease economic sanctions if progress is made on the missile export issue.

April 21-22, 1996: The United States and North Korea meet in Berlin for their first round of bilateral missile talks. The United States reportedly suggests that North Korea should adhere to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary international agreement aimed at controlling sales of ballistic missile systems, components, and technology. North Korea allegedly demands that the United States provide compensation for lost missile-related revenue.

May 24, 1996: The United States imposes sanctions on North Korea and Iran for missile technology-related transfers. The sanctions prohibit any imports or exports to sanctioned firms and to those sectors of the North Korean economy that are considered missile-related. The pre-existing general ban on trade with both countries makes the sanctions largely symbolic.

October 16, 1996: After detecting North Korean preparations for a test of its medium-range Nodong missile, the United States deploys a reconnaissance ship and aircraft to Japan. Following several meetings in New York between U.S. and North Korean diplomats, the State Department confirms on November 8 that the missile test has been canceled.


June 11-13, 1997: The second round of U.S.-North Korean missile talks takes place in New York, with U.S. negotiators pressing North Korea not to deploy the Nodong missile and to end sales of Scud missiles and their components. The parties reach no agreement but reportedly lay the foundation for future talks.

August 6, 1997: The United States imposes new sanctions on two additional North Korean entities for unspecified missile-proliferation activities.


February 25, 1998: At his inaugural speech, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung announces his “sunshine policy,” which strives to improve inter-Korean relations through peace, reconciliation, and cooperation.

April 17, 1998: The United States imposes sanctions on North Korea and Pakistan in response to Pyongyang’s transfer of missile technology and components to Pakistan’s Khan Research Laboratory.

June 16, 1998: The official Korean Central News Agency reports that Pyongyang will only end its missile technology exports if it is suitably compensated for financial losses.

July 15, 1998: The bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission concludes that the United States may have “little or no warning” before facing a long-range ballistic missile threat from “rogue states,” such as North Korea and Iran.

August 31, 1998: North Korea launches a three-stage Taepo Dong-1 rocket with a range of 1,500-2,000 kilometers that flies over Japan. Pyongyang announces that the rocket successfully placed a small satellite into orbit, a claim contested by U.S. Space Command. Japan suspends signature of a cost-sharing agreement for the Agreed Framework’s LWR project until November 1998. The U.S. intelligence community admits to being surprised by North Korea’s advances in missile-staging technology and its use of a solid-rocket motor for the missile’s third stage.

October 1, 1998: The third round of U.S.-North Korean missile talks begins in New York but makes little progress. The United States repeats its request for Pyongyang to terminate its missile programs in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. North Korea rejects the U.S. proposal on the grounds that the lifting of sanctions is implicit in the 1994 Agreed Framework.

November 12, 1998: President Bill Clinton appoints former Secretary of Defense William Perry to serve as North Korea policy coordinator—a post established by the 1999 Defense Authorization Act. Perry immediately undertakes an interagency review of U.S. policy toward North Korea and begins consultations with South Korea and Japan aimed at forming a unified approach to dealing with Pyongyang.

December 4-11, 1998: The United States and North Korea hold talks to address U.S. concerns about a suspected underground nuclear facility at Kumchang-ni. Pyongyang reportedly accepts in principle the idea of a U.S. inspection of the site but is unable to agree with U.S. proposals for “appropriate compensation.”


February 2, 1999: CIA Director George Tenet testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee that, with some technical improvements, North Korea would be able to use the Taepo Dong-1 to deliver small payloads to parts of Alaska and Hawaii. Tenet also says that Pyongyang’s Taepo Dong-2, if it had a third stage like the Taepo Dong-1, would be able to deliver large payloads to the continental United States, albeit with poor accuracy.

March 29-31, 1999: U.S. and North Korean officials hold a fourth round of missile talks in Pyongyang. The United States again expresses concern over North Korea’s missile development and proliferation activities and proposes a deal exchanging North Korean restraint for U.S. sanctions relief. U.S. officials describe the talks as “serious and intensive” but succeed only in reaching agreement to meet again at an unspecified date.

April 25, 1999: The United States, South Korea, and Japan establish the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group to institutionalize close consultation and policy coordination in dealing with North Korea.

May 20-24, 1999: A U.S. inspection team visits the North Korean suspected nuclear site in Kumchang-ni. According to the State Department, the team finds no evidence of nuclear activity or violation of the Agreed Framework.

May 25-28, 1999: Traveling to Pyongyang as a presidential envoy, Perry meets with senior North Korean political, diplomatic, and military officials to discuss a major expansion in bilateral relations if Pyongyang is willing to address U.S. security concerns. Perry delivers a letter from President Clinton to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, but the two do not meet. Perry reportedly calls on North Korea to satisfy U.S. concerns about ongoing nuclear weapons-related activities that are beyond the scope of the Agreed Framework and about ballistic missile development and proliferation in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions, normalization of diplomatic relations, and potentially some form of security guarantee.

September 7-12, 1999: During talks in Berlin, North Korea agrees to a moratorium on testing any long-range missiles for the duration of talks with the United States. The United States agrees to a partial lifting of economic sanctions on North Korea. The two parties agree to continue high-level discussions. (Sanctions are not actually lifted until June 2000.)

September 9, 1999: A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate reports that North Korea will “most likely” develop an ICBM capable of delivering a 200-kilogram warhead to the U.S. mainland by 2015.

September 15, 1999: North Korean policy coordinator Perry submits his review of U.S. policy toward North Korea to Congress and releases an unclassified version of the report on October 12. The report recommends “a new, comprehensive and integrated approach to…negotiations with the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] DPRK,” which would involve a coordinated reduction in isolation by the United States and its allies in a “step-by-step and reciprocal fashion.” Potential engagement mechanisms could include the normalization of diplomatic relations and the relaxation of trade sanctions.

November 19, 1999: The United States and North Korea meet in Berlin for talks on bilateral relations and preparations for a North Korean high-level visit to the United States.

December 15, 1999: Five years after the Agreed Framework was signed, KEDO officials sign a turn-key contract with the Korea Electric Power Corporation to begin construction on the two LWRs in Kumho, North Korea. KEDO officials attribute the delay in signing the contract to complex legal and financial challenges and the tense political climate generated by the North Korean Taepo Dong-1 test in August 1998.


April 6, 2000: The United States imposes sanctions on a North Korean firm, Changgwang Sinyong Corporation, for proliferating MTCR Category I items, possibly to Iran. Category I items include complete missile systems with ranges exceeding 300 kilometers and payloads over 500 kilograms, major subsystems, rocket stages or guidance systems, production facilities for MTCR-class missiles, or technology associated with such missiles.

May 25-27, 2000: The United States conducts its second inspection of the Kumchang-ni site. The inspection team found that conditions had not changed since the first inspection in May 1999.

June 15, 2000: Following a historic summit, North and South Korea sign a joint declaration stating they have “agreed to resolve” the question of reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The agreement includes promises to reunite families divided by the Korean War and to pursue other economic and cultural exchanges. No commitments are made regarding nuclear weapons or missile programs or military deployments in the Demilitarized Zone.

June 19, 2000: Apparently encouraged by the North-South summit, the United States relaxes sanctions on North Korea, allowing a “wide range” of trade in commercial and consumer goods, easing restrictions on investment, and eliminating prohibitions on direct personal and commercial financial transactions. Sanctions related to terrorism and missile proliferation remain in place. The next day, North Korea reaffirms its moratorium on missile tests.

July 12, 2000: The fifth round of U.S.-North Korean missile talks in Kuala Lumpur end without resolution. During the meeting, North Korea repeats its demand for compensation, stated as $1 billion per year, in return for halting missile exports. The United States rejects this proposal but says that it is willing to move toward “economic normalization” in return for addressing U.S. concerns.

July 19, 2000: During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Il reportedly promises to end his country’s missile program in exchange for assistance with satellite launches from countries that have expressed concern about North Korea’s missile program.

July 28, 2000: At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright engages in a “substantively modest” meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun, the highest level of exchange to date. Paek gives no additional details about North Korea’s purported offer to end its missile program in return for space-launch assistance.

August 13, 2000: Kim Jong Il tells a meeting of 46 South Korean media executives in Pyongyang that his missile proposal was meant “in humor, while talking about science and state-of-the-art technologies,” according to the Korea Times. The report of the event is widely interpreted as undercutting the seriousness of Kim’s offer; however, English-language excerpts of Kim’s speech seem to confirm the offer: “I told…Putin that we would stop developing rockets when the United States comes forward and launches our satellites.”

August 28, 2000: U.S. Ambassador Wendy Sherman travels to Moscow to confirm the details of Kim Jong Il’s apparent missile proposal with her Russian counterparts. At a September 8 briefing, a senior State Department official says the United States is taking the North Korean offer “very seriously.”

September 27, 2000: U.S.-North Korean talks resume in New York on nuclear issues, missiles, and terrorism. The two countries issue a joint statement on terrorism, a move that indicates progress toward removing North Korea from the State Department’s terrorism list.

October 9-12, 2000: Kim Jong Il’s second-in-command, Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok, visits Washington as a special envoy. He delivers a letter to President Clinton and meets with the secretaries of state and defense. The move is seen as an affirmation of Kim’s commitment to improving U.S.-North Korean ties.

October 12, 2000: The United States and North Korea issue a joint statement noting that resolution of the missile issue would “make an essential contribution to fundamentally improved relations” and reiterating the two countries’ commitment to implementation of the Agreed Framework. The statement also says that Albright will visit North Korea in the near future to prepare for a possible visit by President Clinton.

October 24, 2000: Secretary Albright concludes a two-day visit to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong Il. During the visit, Kim says that North Korea would not further test the Taepo Dong-1 missile. In addition to discussing Pyongyang’s indigenous missile program, the talks cover North Korean missile technology exports, nuclear transparency, the normalization of relations, and a possible trip by President Clinton to Pyongyang.

November 1-3, 2000: A seventh round of missile talks between Pyongyang and Washington ends without an agreement in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The failure to build upon the momentum derived from Secretary Albright's recent meeting with Kim Jong-Il diminished hopes of a presidential trip to North Korea before the end of President Clinton's term.

December 28, 2000: President Clinton announces that he will not travel to North Korea before the end of his term, citing "insufficient time to complete the work at hand." According to a March 6 New York Times article, Clinton's national security adviser Sandy Berger was hesitant to have the president leave the country during the presidential election dispute, which he deemed "a potential 'constitutional crisis.'"


January 2, 2001: The United States imposes sanctions on North Korea’s Changgwang Sinyong Corporation for violation of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000.

March 6, 2001: At a joint press briefing with the Swedish foreign minister, Secretary of State Colin Powell says that the administration “plan[s] to engage with North Korea to pick up where President Clinton left off. Some promising elements were left on the table and we will be examining those elements.”

March 7, 2001: In a New York Times op-ed, Wendy Sherman, former special adviser to the president and secretary of state for North Korea policy, writes that a deal with North Korea to eliminate its medium- and long-range missiles and end its missile exports had been “tantalizingly close” at the end of the Clinton administration.

After a working meeting with South Korean President Kim Dae-jung at the White House, President George W. Bush tells reporters that he “look[s] forward to, at some point in the future, having a dialogue with the North Koreans, but that any negotiation would require complete verification of the terms of a potential agreement.” According to Clinton administration officials, the issue of how to verify a missile deal remained one of the final stumbling blocks to a successful arrangement. Bush also questions whether Pyongyang is “keeping all terms of all agreements.”

Just prior to Bush’s comments, Powell amended his remarks from the previous day, noting that if “there was some suggestion that imminent negotiations are about to begin—that is not the case.”

March 13, 2001: North Korea, apparently reacting to Washington’s new tone, cancels ministerial-level talks with Seoul. The talks were intended to promote further political reconciliation.

March 15, 2001: Pyongyang threatens to “take thousand-fold revenge” on the United States “and its black-hearted intention to torpedo the dialogue between north and south [Korea].” The statement, issued by the Korean Central News Agency, called Washington’s new policies “hostile” and noted that Pyongyang remains “fully prepared for both dialogue and war.”

May 3, 2001: At a press conference in Pyongyang, a European Union delegation headed by Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson reports that Kim Jong Il pledged that he will extend Pyongyang’s moratorium on missile testing until 2003 and that Kim was “committed” to a second inter-Korean summit.

June 6, 2001: In a press release, President Bush announces the completion of his administration’s North Korea policy review and its determination that “serious discussions” on a “broad agenda” should be resumed with Pyongyang. Bush states his desire to conduct “comprehensive” negotiations, including “improved implementation of the Agreed Framework,” “verifiable constraints” on North Korea’s missile programs, a ban on North Korea’s missile exports, and “a less threatening conventional military posture.”

June 13, 2001: U.S. Special Envoy Jack Pritchard meets in New York with the North Korean representative to the UN, Hyong-ch’ol Yi, to make arrangements for bilateral talks.

June 26, 2001: The State Department announces sanctions under the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 on North Korea’s Changgwang Sinyong Corporation, for unspecified missile-related transfers to Iran. The announcement represents the second time that sanctions had been imposed under the act, the first also being on Changgwang Sinyong on January 2.

The sanctions prohibit any U.S. entity from doing business with the North Korean firm, which has been punished several times previously under more general missile transfer sanctions. However, the sanctions are largely symbolic, as Changgwang Sinyong is still subject to the active sanctions imposed on January 2, 2001, and missile sanctions that were imposed on April 6, 2000.

July 6, 2001: Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage confirms that North Korea tested a rocket “motor engine” in late June, but that there was “nothing in itself wrong with that,” nor did the administration consider the test to have violated Pyongyang’s testing moratorium.

August 4, 2001: During a meeting in Moscow with President Putin, Kim Jong Il reaffirms his pledge to maintain a moratorium on ballistic missile flight-tests until 2003.


January 29, 2002: In his State of the Union address, President Bush criticized North Korea for “arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.” Bush characterized North Korea, along with Iraq and Iran, as constituting an “axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

February 5, 2002: At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Powell reiterates the administration's policy that it is willing to resume a dialogue with North Korea at "any time, any place, or anywhere without any preconditions." Powell also confirms that the administration believes that Pyongyang continues to "comply with the [missile flight-test] moratorium they placed upon themselves and stay within the KEDO agreement," which is also known as the Agreed Framework.

March 15, 2002: Following reports that the U.S. nuclear posture review discusses the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, Pyongyang's state-run press organ announces that, if the United States "tries to use nuclear weapons" against North Korea, it will be compelled to "examine all the agreements" reached with the United States. The report says that, "if the U.S. inflicts nuclear holocaust upon [North Korea], the former's mainland will not be safe either."

April 1, 2002: President Bush issues a memorandum stating that he will not certify North Korea's compliance with the Agreed Framework. However, for national security considerations, Bush waives applicable U.S. law prohibiting Washington from funding KEDO, allowing the United States to continue financially supporting the Agreed Framework.

July 2, 2002: The United States cancels a planned delegation visit to North Korea, citing Pyongyang’s failure to respond to a proposed July 10 meeting date, as well as a June 29 naval skirmish between North and South Korea.

July 31, 2002: Powell meets briefly with Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum meeting in Brunei, generating speculation that a U.S. envoy will visit North Korea. It is the highest-level exchange between the two countries since the Bush administration took office.

August 7, 2002: KEDO holds a ceremony to mark the pouring of the concrete foundation for the first LWR that the United States agreed to provide North Korea under the Agreed Framework. Jack Pritchard, the U.S. representative to KEDO and State Department special envoy for negotiations with North Korea, attends the ceremony. Pritchard is the most senior U.S. official to visit North Korea since former Secretary of State Albright in October 2000.

The United States urges North Korea to comply with IAEA safeguarding procedures for all its nuclear facilities as soon as possible, but Pyongyang states that it will not do so for at least three years, the Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports August 8. A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman also states that delays in completing the reactor project might motivate Pyongyang to pull out of the agreement.

August 16, 2002: The United States imposes sanctions on Changgwang Sinyong Corporation of North Korea and on the North Korean government itself for transferring missile technology to Yemen. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer states August 23 that the sanctions were a “pro forma requirement under the law for the State Department” and that Washington remains willing to “talk with North Korea any time, any place.”

August 31, 2002: Responding to an August 29 speech by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, North Korea says that “if the U.S. has a will to drop its hostile policy toward the DPRK it will have dialogue…the ball is in the court of the U.S. side.” Bolton had criticized Pyongyang’s missile, nuclear, and biological weapons programs.

September 17, 2002: North Korea announces that it will indefinitely extend its moratorium on missile testing as part of the North Korea-Japan Pyongyang Declaration signed during a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

A portion of the North Korea-Japan declaration references nuclear weapons, saying that the two countries “affirmed the pledge to observe all the international agreements for a comprehensive solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.” It is unclear whether this statement simply affirms a commitment to existing agreements or signals support for additional arms control measures.

October 3-5, 2002: James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, visits North Korea. The highest-ranking administration official to visit Pyongyang, Kelly reiterates U.S. concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, export of missile components, conventional force posture, human rights violations, and humanitarian situation. Kelly informs North Korea that it could improve bilateral relations through a “comprehensive settlement” addressing these issues. No future meetings are announced.

Referring to Kelly’s approach as “high handed and arrogant,” North Korea argues that the U.S. policy “compels the DPRK to take all necessary countermeasures, pursuant to the army-based policy whose validity has been proven.”

October 16, 2002: The United States announces that North Korea admitted to having a clandestine program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons after James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, confronted representatives from Pyongyang during an October 3-5 visit. Kelly later explained that the North Korean admission came the day after he informed them that the United States was aware of the program. North Korea has denied several times that it admitted to having this program.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher states that "North Korea's secret nuclear weapons program is a serious violation of North Korea's commitments under the Agreed Framework as well as under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, its International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards agreement, and the Joint North-South Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
Boucher also says that the United States wants North Korea to comply with its nonproliferation commitments and seeks "a peaceful resolution of this situation."

November 5, 2002: North Korea threatens to end its moratorium on ballistic missile tests if North Korea-Japan normalization talks do not achieve progress.

November 14, 2002: KEDO announces that it is suspending heavy-fuel oil deliveries to North Korea in response to Pyongyang's October 4 acknowledgment that it has a uranium-enrichment program. The last shipment reached North Korea November 18.

November 29, 2002: The IAEA adopts a resolution calling upon North Korea to "clarify" its "reported uranium-enrichment program." North Korea rejects the resolution, saying the IAEA's position is biased in favor of the United States.

December 9, 2002: Spanish and U.S. forces intercept and search a ship carrying a shipment of North Korean Scud missiles and related cargo to Yemen. The United States allows the shipment to be delivered because it lacks the necessary legal authority to seize the cargo. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says that Washington had intelligence that the ship was carrying missiles to the Middle East and was concerned that its ultimate destination might have been Iraq.

December 12, 2002: North Korea sends a letter to the IAEA announcing that it is restarting its one functional reactor and is reopening the other nuclear facilities frozen under the Agreed Framework. The letter requests that the IAEA remove the seals and monitoring equipment from its nuclear facilities. A North Korean spokesman blames the United States for violating the Agreed Framework and says that the purpose of restarting the reactor is to generate electricity-an assertion disputed by U.S. officials.

A November 27 Congressional Research Service report states that the reactor could annually produce enough plutonium for one bomb. The CIA states in a 2002 report to Congress that the spent-fuel rods "contain enough plutonium for several more [nuclear] weapons."

U.S. estimates on North Korea's current nuclear status differ. A State Department official said January 3, 2003 that the U.S. intelligence community believes North Korea already possesses one or two nuclear weapons made from plutonium produced before the negotiation of the Agreed Framework. The CIA publicly estimates that Pyongyang "has produced enough plutonium" for one or two weapons.

December 14, 2002: North Korea states in a letter to the IAEA that the status of its nuclear facilities is a matter between the United States and North Korea and "not pursuant to any agreement" with the IAEA. The letter further declares that North Korea will take unilateral action to remove seals and monitoring cameras if the IAEA does not act.

December 22-24, 2002: North Korea cuts all seals and disrupts IAEA surveillance equipment on its nuclear facilities and materials. An IAEA spokesman says December 26 that North Korea started moving fresh fuel rods into the reactor, suggesting that it might be restarted soon.

December 27, 2002: North Korea orders IAEA inspectors out of the country. They leave on December 31.


January 6, 2003: The IAEA Board of Governors adopts a resolution condemning North Korea's decision to restart its nuclear reactor and resume operation of its related facilities. The resolution "deplores" North Korea's action "in the strongest terms" and calls on Pyongyang to meet "immediately, as a first step" with IAEA officials. It also calls on North Korea to re-establish the seals and monitoring equipment it dismantled, comply fully with agency safeguards, clarify details about its reported uranium-enrichment program, and allow the agency to verify that all North Korea’s nuclear material is "declared and…subject to safeguards."

January 10, 2003: North Korea announces its withdrawal from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), effective January 11. Although Article X of the NPT requires that a country give three months’ notice in advance of withdrawing, North Korea argues that it has satisfied that requirement because it originally announced its decision to withdraw March 12, 1993, and suspended the decision one day before it was to become legally binding.

January 12, 2003: Choe Jin Su, North Korea’s ambassador to China, signals that Pyongyang might not adhere to its moratorium on testing long-range missiles, saying that Pyongyang believes it “cannot go along with the self-imposed missile moratorium any longer,” according to a January 12 Los Angeles Times article.

February 12, 2003: Responding to North Korea’s rejection of the November 2002 and January 2003 IAEA resolutions, the IAEA Board of Governors adopts a resolution declaring Pyongyang in “further non-compliance” with its obligations under the NPT. The board decides to report the matter to the UN Security Council, in accordance with agency mandates.

February 27, 2003: U.S. officials confirm North Korea has restarted the five-megawatt nuclear reactor that had been frozen by the Agreed Framework.

March 19, 2003: North Korea again signals that it might not adhere to its moratorium on testing long-range missiles, asserting in a March 19 KCNA statement that it has the “sovereign right” to have a “peaceful” missile program. North Korea conducted missile tests February 24 and March 10, but both tests involved short-range missiles that did not violate the moratorium.

March 24, 2003: The United States imposes sanctions on the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation of North Korea for transferring missile technology to Khan Research Laboratories in Pakistan. The laboratory was sanctioned for receiving the items. Philip Reeker, deputy State Department spokesman, said April 1 that the sanctions were imposed only for a “missile-related transfer” and not the transfer of nuclear technology from Pakistan to North Korea.

April 23-25, 2003: The United States, North Korea, and China hold trilateral talks in Beijing. North Korea tells the U.S. delegation that it possesses nuclear weapons, according to Boucher on April 28. This constitutes the first time that Pyongyang has made such an admission.

North Korea also tells the U.S. delegation that it has completed reprocessing the spent nuclear fuel from the five-megawatt reactor frozen under the Agreed Framework, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell during an April 30 hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Boucher adds that the North Korean delegation told the U.S. officials that Pyongyang “might get rid of all their nuclear programs…[and] stop their missile exports.” Powell states April 28 that North Korea expects “something considerable in return” for this effort.

May 12, 2003
North Korea accuses the United States of violating the spirit of the 1992 Joint North-South Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, calling the agreement a “dead document” in a KCNA statement.

July 15, 2003
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher tells reporters that North Korean officials at their UN mission in New York have told U.S. officials that North Korea has completed reprocessing the 8,000 spent fuel rods from its Yongbyon reactor.

August 27-29, 2003
The first round of six-party talks is held in Beijing. The talks achieve no significant breakthroughs.

North Korea proposes a step-by-step solution, calling for the United States to conclude a “non-aggression treaty,” normalize bilateral diplomatic relations, refrain from hindering North Korea’s “economic cooperation” with other countries, complete the reactors promised under the Agreed Framework, resume suspended fuel oil shipments, and increase food aid. Pyongyang states that, in return, it will dismantle its “nuclear facility,” as well as end missile testing and export of missiles and related components. North Korea issues an explicit denial for the first time that it has a uranium-enrichment program.

The North Korean delegation, however, also threatens to test nuclear weapons or “demonstrate the means that they would have to deliver” them, according to a senior State Department official.

September 14, 2003: President George W. Bush agrees to waive the restrictions on U.S. funding to KEDO but only pledges to provide $3.72 million solely for administrative expenses. The United States does not provide any further funding for KEDO after 2003.

October 2, 2003
KCNA reports a statement from a North Korean Foreign Ministry official indicating that North Korea completed reprocessing its 8,000 spent fuel rods and “made a switchover in the use” of the spent fuel “in the direction increasing [sic] its nuclear deterrent force.” The official also states that Pyongyang will continue to produce and reprocess additional spent fuel when deemed necessary.

October 16, 2003
A statement from a North Korean Foreign Ministry official reported by KCNA suggests that Pyongyang may test nuclear weapons, stating that it will “take a measure to open its nuclear deterrent to the public as a physical force” if the United States refuses to change its negotiating stance.

October 19, 2003
President George W. Bush states during a trip to Asia that the United States is willing to provide a written, multilateral guarantee that the United States will not attack North Korea, but makes it clear that a formal nonaggression pact is “off the table.” Powell made a similar statement August 1.

November 6, 2003: North Korean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ri Yong Ho, tells Reuters that North Korea possesses a workable nuclear device.

November 21, 2003
The KEDO Executive Board announces that it will suspend construction of two light-water nuclear reactors for one year beginning December 1. The Board adds that the project’s future “will be assessed and decided by the Executive Board before the expiration of the suspension period.” Department of State spokesperson Adam Ereli said November 5, however, that Bush administration believes there is “no future for the project.”


January 8, 2004
North Korea allows an unofficial U.S. delegation to visit its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and displays what it calls its “nuclear deterrent.” North Korean officials allow delegation member Siegfried Hecker—a senior fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory—to handle a jar containing what appears to be plutonium metal. North Korean officials claim that it came from reprocessing the spent fuel rods from its five-megawatt reactor.

The delegation also visits the spent fuel cooling pond that had been monitored under the Agreed Framework and observes that the rods have been removed. The North Korean officials tell the delegation that Pyongyang reprocessed all of the spent fuel rods between January and June 2003.

Hecker later tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he does not know for certain that the substance was plutonium and that he could not determine when it was produced.

February 25-28, 2004
A second round of six-party talks takes place in Beijing. Little progress is made, although both sides agree to hold another round of talks before the end of June 2004, as well as a working group meeting to be held beforehand.

South Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Lee Soo-hyuck, issues a proposal—which China and Russia both support—to provide energy assistance to the North in return for a freeze of its nuclear program, along with a promise to dismantle it.

Wang Yi, China’s envoy to the six-party talks, states afterwards that “sharp” differences remain between Washington and Pyongyang. According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, two specific issues divide North Korea and other participants. The first is that the United States, Japan, and South Korea want all of North Korea’s nuclear programs to be dismantled, but North Korea wishes to be allowed to retain one for “peaceful purposes.” The second is that Washington and the other two governments want Pyongyang to acknowledge that it has a uranium-enrichment program.

June 23-26, 2004: A third round of six-party talks is held in Beijing. The United States presents a detailed proposal for resolving the crisis.

The proposal calls for a two-phase process in which North Korea would receive fuel oil from China, South Korea, and Russia after agreeing to first freeze, then dismantle its nuclear programs. The United States and the other parties to the talks would also draft a multilateral security agreement and begin surveying North Korea’s energy needs. Additionally, Washington would begin bilateral discussions with Pyongyang on the removal of U.S. sanctions. The benefits spelled out in the proposal could be withdrawn if North Korea did not comply.

According to a June 28 North Korean Foreign Ministry statement, North Korea counters by proposing to “refrain from” producing, testing, or transferring nuclear weapons and to freeze “all the facilities related to nuclear weapons and products churned out by their operation.” According to the Foreign Ministry, the length of the freeze depends on “whether reward is made or not.”

November 26, 2004: The KEDO Executive Board announces that it will extend its suspension of the light-water reactor project for another year, beginning December 1.


February 2, 2005: The New York Times and The Washington Post report that Libya received uranium hexafluoride suspected to be of North Korean origin in 2004. Several knowledgeable U.S. and other diplomatic sources later tell Arms Control Today that the evidence indicates, but does not prove, that the material originated in North Korea.

February 10, 2005: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry announces that Pyongyang has “produced nuclear weapons.” This was Pyongyang’s most definitive public claim to date at the time


on the status of its nuclear arsenal.

February 21, 2005: Seoul’s semi-official Yonhap News Agency reports that South Korea’s defense minister, Yoon Kwang-ung, tells a National Assembly Committee that North Korea has reprocessed “only part” of the 8,000 spent fuel rods from the Yongbyon reactor.

March 2, 2005: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry states that Pyongyang is no longer bound by its more than five-year-old moratorium on flight-testing longer-range missiles. Pyongyang, however, does not say it will resume such testing.

Early April, 2005: The United States sends an urgent diplomatic message to allies notifying them of U.S. concerns that North Korea might conduct a nuclear test.

April 9, 2005: North Korea expert Selig Harrison tells reporters that, during a recent meeting, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan said Pyongyang might give nuclear weapons to terrorists if “the United States drives us into a corner.”

May 11, 2005: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry announces that it has “successfully finished the unloading of 8,000 spent fuel rods” from its Yongbyon reactor. South Korea has verified the reactor shutdown “through various channels,” Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry official Kim Sook tells the Korean Broadcasting System the same day.

June 2005: Pyongyang refuels its reactor at Yongbyon and begins reprocessing the 8,000 spent fuel rods removed in March, North Korean officials later tell Hecker.

June 29, 2005: The U.S. Treasury Department announces that the United States has frozen the U.S. assets of three North Korean entities “responsible for WMD and missile programs,” as well as barred U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with those entities. Those measures are taken pursuant to Executive Order 13382 issued that day by President George W. Bush.

July 9, 2005: After a meeting between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, North Korea announces its return to the six-party talks. According to a KCNA statement, the “U.S. side clarified its official stand to recognize [North Korea] as a sovereign state, not to invade it and hold bilateral talks within the framework of the six-party talks.”

July 13, 2005: During a meeting with an envoy of Chinese President Hu Jintao, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il reiterates his father’s [Kim Il Sung] apparent dying wish for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to KCNA.

July 26, 2005: A new round of six-party talks begins in Beijing. The talks include an unprecedented number of U.S.-North Korean bilateral talks. While North Korea continued to deny that it has a “uranium-based nuclear weapons program,” Pyongyang suggested that it would “clarify” any relevant “credible information or evidence” presented by the United States in that regard.

The participants agree August 7 to recess for several weeks. The talks resume September 13.

September 15, 2005: The Department of the Treasury designates a Macau bank, Banco Delta Asia, as a “primary money laundering concern” under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, freezing about $25 million in North Korean funds. A department press release states that the bank has provided services to North Korean “government agencies and front companies,” adding that “[e]vidence exists that some of these agencies and front companies are engaged in illicit activities,” such as drug trafficking. The bank also has also circulated North Korean-produced counterfeit U.S. currency, the press release alleges.

September 19, 2005: The participants in the six-party talks conclude a joint statement of principles to guide future negotiations.

According to the statement, North Korea commits “to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards.” It also calls for the 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which forbids the two Koreas from possessing uranium-enrichment and plutonium-separation facilities, to be “observed and implemented.” Washington affirms in the statement that it has no intention to attack or invade North Korea.

The statement commits the participants to achieving “the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner” and says that the parties agree “to take coordinated steps to implement” the agreed-upon obligations and rewards “in a phased manner in line with the principle of ‘commitment for commitment, action for action.’”

The statement says that North Korea “stated that it has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy” and that the other parties “expressed their respect and agreed to discuss, at an appropriate time, the subject of the provision” of a light-water nuclear power reactor to Pyongyang. This issue had been controversial during the negotiations and the final agreement was the result of a compromise between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea insisted that the statement recognize its right to a peaceful nuclear energy program and commit the other participants to provide it with light-water reactors while the United States argued that North Korea should not receive any nuclear reactors.

September 20, 2005: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry states that it is “essential” for the United States to provide light-water reactors to Pyongyang “as early as possible,” adding that Washington “should not even dream” that North Korea will dismantle its “nuclear deterrent” before receiving the reactors. However, a speech from North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon two days later appears to back away from this formulation.

October 20, 2005: Democratic New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who visited North Korea earlier in the month, says North Korean officials told him they had reprocessed the 8,000 spent fuel rods from the Yongbyon reactor, the Associated Press reports.

October 21, 2005: The Treasury Department announces that it has sanctioned eight North Korean entities pursuant to Executive Order 13382 for their unspecified “involvement” in the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or related delivery vehicles. The action freezes the entities’ U.S. assets and prohibits transactions between these entities and any U.S. citizens or companies. The department had similarly designated those entities’ parent companies in June.

November 9-11, 2005: The fifth round of the six-party talks begins in Beijing.

South Korea and Japan present concrete plans for implementing the September statement. Both countries propose that the participants separate outstanding issues into three categories: the dismantlement of Pyongyang’s nuclear program, provision of economic and energy assistance to North Korea, and Pyongyang’s bilateral issues with Washington and Tokyo.

Disagreements between Washington and Pyongyang continue to block progress. The North Korean delegation focuses almost exclusively on the funds frozen by the September Banco Delta Asia designation.

December 19, 2005: North Korea announces that it will “pursue” the construction of larger “graphite-moderated reactors,” an apparent reference to the two reactors whose construction had been frozen under the Agreed Framework in Pyongyang’s most definitive public statement on the matter.


March 7, 2006: Officials from the U.S. Treasury Department brief North Korea’s deputy director-general for North America, Li Gun, as well as other North Korean officials about the U.S. actions taken with respect to Banco Delta Asia. Li tells reporters afterward that his delegation proposed several methods for resolving U.S. concerns, South Korea’s semi-official Yonhap News Agency reports. Among them was a suggestion to form a joint U.S.-North Korean consultative committee of experts that would discuss such issues as counterfeiting and money laundering.

March 17, 2006: Department of State spokesperson Adam Ereli indicates during a press briefing that issues related to North Korea’s financial system could potentially be discussed in the six-party talks.

March 30, 2006: The Treasury Department announces that it has imposed penalties on a Swiss company, along with one of its owners, for procuring “goods with weapons-related applications” for North Korea.

April 13, 2006: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan tells reporters that Pyongyang would return to the talks if the United States lifted the freeze of Banco Delta Asia’s funds, which total approximately $25 million.

June 1, 2006: The KEDO Executive Board announces that it has formally terminated its project to build two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.

The board says its decision was based on the “continued and extended failure” of North Korea to comply with its relevant obligations under the 1994 Agreed Framework.

According to South Korea’s Unification Ministry, KEDO’s executive board adopted a resolution the previous day saying that Seoul is to “cover the costs arising from the liquidation process,” of the KEDO assets, such as resolving compensation claims from subcontractors. In return, the government-owned Korea Electric Power Corp., the prime contractor for the reactor project, would gain ownership over reactor “equipment and materials” located outside of North Korea. The fate of assets remaining in North Korea, such as vehicles and construction equipment, is unclear.

July 4-5, 2006: North Korea test fires seven ballistic missiles, including its longest-range missile, the Taepo Dong-2. The other six tests include a combination of short- and medium-range Scud-C and Nodong ballistic missiles, launched from the Kittaraeyong test site. Although the tests of the six short-range missiles appear to be successful, the Taepo Dong-2 fails less than a minute after launch.

A July 4 State Department press statement describes the launches as a “provocative act” that violated North Korea’s voluntary moratorium on flight-testing longer-range missiles, which Pyongyang had observed since September 1999.

Japan and South Korea punish North Korea for conducting the tests, with Tokyo imposing sanctions on Pyongyang and Seoul halting food and fertilizer assistance.

July 15, 2006: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1695 condemning North Korea’s missile launches. The resolution calls on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks and “demands” that the country suspend its ballistic-missile activities and re-establish its flight-testing moratorium.

The resolution also requires states to prevent missiles and related “items, materials, goods and technology” from being transferred to North Korea’s missile or weapons of mass destruction programs. In addition, it requires countries to prevent the procurement of such items from Pyongyang and the transfer of any “financial resources in relation to” North Korea’s weapons programs.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry states the next day that Pyongyang will “not be bound” by the resolution.

September 19, 2006: Japan and Australia announce that they have adopted sanctions targeting multiple foreign entities tied to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs in response to resolution 1695.

The two countries each punish the same 12 organizations, as well as a Swiss citizen. All entities are already subject to similar U.S. sanctions. Japan also sanctions three additional institutions.

October 3, 2006: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issues a statement asserting that Pyongyang “will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed.” Apparently signaling a degree of restraint, the statement also says that North Korea will refrain from the first-use of nuclear weapons, “strictly prohibit any …nuclear transfer,” and “do its utmost to realize the denuclearization of the [Korean] peninsula.”

October 9, 2006: North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test near the village of P’unggye. Most early analyses of the test based on seismic data collected by South Korean, Japanese, and U.S. institutes estimates the yield to be below one kiloton. Russian estimates differed significantly, and Foreign Minister Sergei Ivanov said Oct. 10 that the estimated yield was between 5 and 15 kilotons.

October 11, 2006: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry states that its “nuclear test was entirely attributable to the US nuclear threat, sanctions and pressure,” adding that North Korea “was compelled to substantially prove its possession of nukes to protect its sovereignty.” The statement also indicates that North Korea might conduct further nuclear tests if the United States “increases pressure” on the country.

However, the Foreign Ministry also says that North Korea remains committed to implementing the September 2005 joint statement, arguing that the test “constitutes a positive measure for its implementation.” Additionally, Pyongyang “still remains unchanged in its will to denuclearize the peninsula through dialogue and negotiations,” the Foreign Ministry statement says, adding that the “denuclearization of the entire peninsula was President Kim Il Sung’s last instruction and an ultimate goal” of North Korea.

October 14, 2006: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1718. The measure demands that North Korea refrain from further nuclear tests and calls on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks and abandon its nuclear weapons. It also imposes additional sanctions on commerce with Pyongyang, widening the range of prohibited transactions beyond those banned under Resolution 1695.

November 28-December 1, 2006: The Chinese, North Korean, South Korean, and U.S. envoys to the six-party talks hold consultations in Beijing to discuss resuming the fifth round of talks. During the consultations, North Korean envoy Kim Gye Gwan states that North Korea is ready to implement the September 19, 2005 joint statement and abandon its nuclear program, but would not do so “unilaterally.”

December 18-22, 2006: The fifth round of six-party talks resumes in Beijing. The United States presents a multistage denuclearization plan, but the talks make no progress towards implementing the September 19, 2005 joint statement—in part due to continued disagreements regarding the North Korean funds frozen by the United States in Banco Delta Asia. The parties agree to meet again “at the earliest opportunity.”


February 8-13, 2007: The six-party talks concludes its fifth round with an agreed “action plan” of initial steps to implement the September 19, 2005 joint statement on North Korea’s denuclearization.

According to the action plan, North Korea is to halt the operation of its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon during a 60-day initial phase in return for an initial shipment of 50,000 tons of heavy-fuel oil.

The action plan also establishes five working groups to “discuss and formulate specific plans” regarding: economic and energy cooperation; denuclearization; implementation of a “Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism;” North Korean relations with the United States; and North Korean relations with Japan.

The statement indicates that, following the shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, Pyongyang is to provide a complete declaration of all of its nuclear programs and disable all of its existing nuclear facilities in return for an additional 950,000 tons of heavy-fuel oil or its equivalent.

In addition to helping to provide energy aid to North Korea, the United States agrees to begin the process of removing Pyongyang from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and to stop the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act toward North Korea.

March 13-14, 2007: IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei visits North Korea and meets with three officials, including the head of the North Korean General Department of Atomic Energy, Ri Je Son. During the meetings, ElBaradei invites North Korea to return to the IAEA as a member state and discusses the agency’s monitoring and verification role during the implementation of a February 13 six-party talks agreement.

March 19-22, 2007: The sixth round of six-party talks begins in Beijing. The discussions are suspended when North Korean negotiators fly home after four days, explaining that they will not participate until the United States transfers $25 million in frozen North Korean funds held in Banco Delta Asia.

On March 19, Treasury Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser announces that the two countries had “reached an understanding” regarding the frozen funds, with Washington accepting a North Korean proposal that the funds would be transferred to a North Korean account in the Bank of China in Beijing. North Korea also pledges that the funds “will be used solely for the betterment of the North Korean people, including for humanitarian and educational purposes.”

April 10, 2007: The United States agrees to unfreeze the $25 million in North Korean funds frozen in its Banco Delta Asia account. U.S. officials insist, meanwhile, that North Korea, “live up to the assurances that these funds will be used for the betterment of the North Korean people and for humanitarian purposes.”

June 25, 2007: A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman confirms that the Banco Delta Asia funds were transferred to Pyongyang and that North Korea would begin shutting down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities. An IAEA delegation led by Deputy Director-General for safeguards Ollie Heinonen arrives in Pyongyang the following day to discuss the verification procedures for the shutdown.

July 16, 2007: The IAEA confirms the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities.

July 18-20, 2007: The six-party talks reconvenes its sixth round in Beijing. The meeting concludes with a joint communiqué indicating that the five working groups will all meet by the end of August in preparation for another round of plenary talks in September.

September 6, 2007: Israel carries out an air-strike destroying a Syrian facility of an undetermined purpose. Early press reports quoting unnamed U.S. officials suggest that the target of the airstrike was a nuclear facility under construction with North Korean assistance. Days after the strike, Syrian officials deny that the facility was nuclear related, while Israeli and U.S. officials only confirm that an air-strike was carried out. In the following months, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill states on several occasions that he has raised the issue of the Syrian facility with North Korea. U.S. officials later indicate that the facility was believed to have been a nearly completed nuclear reactor modeled on the North Korean nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

September 11-14, 2007: A team of Chinese, Russian, and U.S. experts visit North Korea to examine the Yongbyon nuclear facilities to determine the steps necessary to disable them. The experts team agrees on a draft disablement plan with North Korean officials which is to be considered by the next plenary meeting of the six-party talks.

September 27-October 3, 2007: The sixth round of six-party talks meets to discuss how to proceed with the second phase of the February 13 agreement. On October 3, the participants issue a joint statement in which North Korea agrees that, by December 31, it would provide a “complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs – including clarification regarding the uranium issue,” and disable its Yongbyon nuclear facilities. Pyongyang also agrees to disable all other nuclear facilities subject to the September 2005 joint statement and not to transfer nuclear material or technology abroad.

In return, the six-parties agree that North Korea would receive the remaining 900,000 tons of heavy-fuel oil or its equivalent pledged in the February 13 agreement.

The United States also agrees that it will fulfill its commitments to begin removing North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and “advance the process of terminating the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act” toward North Korea “in parallel with” North Korea’s denuclearization actions.

October 2-4, 2007: South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun travels to Pyongyang to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to discuss prospects for reconciliation and economic cooperation. It is the second time in history that such summit-level discussions have been held.

The summit concludes with a an eight-point joint declaration in which both sides agree to take steps toward reunification, ease military tensions, expand meetings of separated families, and engage in social and cultural exchanges. The declaration also expresses a “shared understanding” by the two countries “on the need for ending the current armistice mechanism and building a permanent peace mechanism.”

November 5, 2007: A team of U.S. experts arrives in North Korea to begin leading the disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities. The disablement process consists of 11 agreed steps to be completed by the December 31 deadline stipulated in the October 3 agreement. Funding for the disablement process is provided by the State Department’s Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF), which is ordinarily reserved for short-term emergency nonproliferation needs.

December 19, 2007: Grand National Party candidate Lee Myung-bak is elected president of South Korea, ushering in the first conservative government in Seoul in 10 years. During his campaign, Lee pledged to review the “Sunshine policy” of short-term reconciliation with North Korea adopted by his two predecessors, instead favoring the application of greater pressure on Pyongyang to denuclearize.

December 21, 2007: The Washington Post reports that U.S. technical teams discovered traces of enriched uranium on aluminum tubes North Korea shared with U.S. officials in November. According to the report, it is unclear whether the contamination originated in North Korea as a result of uranium enrichment carried out by Pyongyang, or if North Korea imported materials which were contaminated abroad and placed these materials in close proximity to the aluminum tubes.


January 2, 2008: Following a December 31, 2007 deadline for North Korea to provide a complete and correct declaration on its nuclear programs and disable its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack indicates that “some technical questions about the cooling of the fuel rods” was the reason behind the failure to meet the year-end deadline for disablement. He added that Washington would continue to press Pyongyang for its nuclear declaration.

January 4, 2008: KCNA releases a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement declaring that North Korea “worked out a report on the nuclear declaration in November last year and notified the U.S. side of its contents.” The statement also accuses the other parties of falling behind on their commitments under an October 2007 agreement, including delays in the delivery of heavy-fuel oil to North Korea. Pyongyang indicated that it would slow down the disablement process in response to delays in the delivery of energy assistance.

February 6, 2008: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and indicates that, in the Fall of 2007, North Korea showed U.S. officials two conventional weapons systems it claimed were the recipients of the thousands of aluminum tubes Pyongyang imported years ago which raised suspicions of a uranium enrichment program. He informs the committee that while the tubes did not work with one of these systems, the U.S. government accepts that the tubes were currently being used for a second conventional weapons system.

Hill also requests from Congress a limited waiver of 1994 Glenn amendment sanctions imposed on North Korea following its nuclear test in 2006. These sanctions, which prohibit the provision of non-humanitarian assistance to non-nuclear-weapon states which have detonated a nuclear weapon, prevent the National Nuclear Security Administration from carrying out work to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear facilities.

February 25, 2008: South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak is inaugurated.

March 13-14, 2008: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and North Korea Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan meet in Geneva to discuss ways to make progress on North Korea’s declaration, including the consideration of a compromise approach to the declaration format. Press reports from the Yonhap News Agency and The Washington Times suggest that compromise proposals would include a formal North Korean declaration on its plutonium program, while the uranium enrichment question and the issue of proliferation would be addressed separately. The meeting ends inconclusively.

April 8, 2008: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and North Korea Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan meet in Singapore for additional discussions on the North Korean declaration. The two envoys reportedly reached a compromise agreement on the North Korean nuclear declaration which would entail North Korea’s accounting of its plutonium-based nuclear weapons program and its acknowledgment of U.S. allegations regarding its proliferation and uranium enrichment activities.

April 24, 2008: U.S. administration and intelligence officials brief Congress and the public regarding their assessment that the Syrian facility destroyed by Israel in September 2007 was a nuclear reactor under construction with North Korean assistance. The briefings featured a CIA-produced video that includes photographs taken from inside and around the facility at various times during its construction, as well as satellite images and digital renderings of certain elements of the reactor’s operations.

May 8, 2008: North Korea provides a U.S. delegation in Pyongyang with about 18,000 pages of documentation detailing the operations of two of its primary plutonium-related facilities at Yongbyon: a five megawatt nuclear reactor and a reprocessing facility. The records date back to 1986.

June 24, 2008: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill tells reporters that North Korea’s upcoming nuclear declaration will consist of a “package of items” listing all nuclear materials and programs. The package will reportedly include a formal accounting of North Korea’s plutonium and plutonium-related nuclear facilities and side-documents regarding nuclear proliferation and uranium enrichment. Hill says the declaration will not include an accounting of nuclear weapons, which “are to be determined at a subsequent phase.”

June 26, 2008: Pyongyang delivers a declaration of its nuclear programs to China, the six-party talks chair. The declaration reportedly indicates that North Korea separated a total of about 30 kilograms of plutonium, and used about 2 kilograms for its 2006 nuclear test.

In return for North Korea’s declaration, President George W. Bush rescinds the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act toward Pyongyang, and notifies Congress of his intention to remove North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism after 45 days, in accordance with U.S. law.

June 30, 2008: President George W. Bush signs into law the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008, which includes a provision allowing the president to waive sanctions on North Korea related to the 1994 Glenn Amendment imposed on Pyongyang following its 2006 nuclear test.

July 12, 2008: The participants in the six-party talks issue a statement outlining broadly the process for verifying North Korea’s nuclear programs. The six parties agree that experts from those countries will be involved in visits to nuclear facilities, the review of documents related to North Korea’s nuclear program, and the interview of technical personnel. The statement also establishes a timeline for completing the disablement of North Korea’s key nuclear facilities and the energy assistance being provided to Pyongyang in return, stating that both processes would be “fully implemented in parallel.”

Mid-July, 2008: The United States tables a draft verification protocol describing procedures used to verify all elements of North Korea’s nuclear programs, including uranium enrichment, weapons, and proliferation. The protocol includes provisions for access upon request for any declared or undeclared site and lists technical recording and detection measures inspectors could undertake. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill tells reporters July 22 that North Korea “indicated some problems” with the draft.

July 23, 2008: The foreign ministers of the six-party talks participants meet informally on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.

Late July 2008: North Korea proposes a draft protocol to verify its nuclear activities. Diplomatic sources later tell Arms Control Today that this proposal is insufficient and it is not used as the basis for further verification negotiations.

August 2008: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reportedly suffers a stroke, raising questions outside the country as to the status of the leadership in Pyongyang.

August 11, 2008: The 45-day period after which the president may remove North Korea from the State Department’s terrorism list expires. The president does not carry out the de-listing at this time. State Department spokesman Robert Wood tells reporters the next day that the 45-day period is a “minimum” rather than a deadline.

August 13, 2008: Japan and North Korea reach an agreement on procedures for addressing the abduction issue. Pyongyang commits to complete a reinvestigation into the fate of the abducted Japanese nationals by Fall 2008 and to provide Tokyo with access to locations, documents, and interviews in North Korea to conduct its own investigation. In return, Japan agrees to lift certain travel restrictions between the two countries and to discuss easing a ban on North Korea’s access to Japanese ports. The agreement is not implemented in the agreed timeframe.

August 22, 2008: Sung Kim, U.S. special envoy to the six-party talks, meets with North Korean officials in New York regarding revisions to the U.S. draft verification protocol.

August 26, 2008: KCNA carries a statement by a North Korean Foreign ministry official stating that the United States has not carried out its commitment to remove Pyongyang from the State Department’s terrorism list and that agreement on a verification protocol was not a condition of that commitment. In response, the statement indicates that Pyongyang will suspend the disablement of its key nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and consider taking steps to restore them “to their original state.”

September 17, 2008: Jane’s Defense Weekly reports that North Korea has nearly completed a new missile test site on its western coast near the village of Pongdong-ni. The site is believed to be more sophisticated than North Korea’s eastern missile launch site at Musudan-ri, with a capacity to carry out flights tests of larger missiles on a more frequent basis.

September 24, 2008: The IAEA issues a press statement indicating that, at Pyongyang’s request, the agency completed removing seals from North Korea’s reprocessing facility. The statement also said that North Korea informed the agency that it would begin introducing nuclear material at that facility “in one week’s time” and that inspectors would no longer have access to the plant.

October 1-3, 2008: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill visits Pyongyang to discuss verification.

October 11, 2008: U.S. officials hold a State Department press briefing to announce a preliminary agreement with Pyongyang on measures to verify North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. The agreement consists of a written joint document and verbal understandings which they say must be approved by the other four six-party talks participants. According to a State Department summary, the new agreement gives inspectors access to all 15 declared sites related to North Korea’s plutonium production program as well as undeclared sites “by mutual consent.” It also allows inspectors to carry out “scientific procedures” such as sampling.

In response to the verification agreement, the United States removes North Korea from the State Department’s terrorism list.

October 13, 2008: KCNA issues a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement indicating that, following its removal from the State Department’s terrorism list, Pyongyang will resume disabling its key nuclear facilities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

November 13, 2008: The North Korean Foreign Ministry issues a statement which denies that Pyongyang agreed to allow inspectors to carry out sampling at its nuclear facilities. The statement says that inspection activities are limited to “field visits, confirmation of documents, and interviews with technicians.” Pyongyang also says it is slowing, by half, the rate at which it removed spent fuel rods from its five-megawatt reactor in response to delays in receiving pledged energy aid.

Early December 2008: The United States completes the final shipment of its 200,000 tons of heavy fuel oil pledged to North Korea, bringing the total energy assistance to about 550,000 of 1 million tons.

December 8-11, 2008: Six-party discussions on verification, disablement, and energy assistance in Beijing end in stalemate due to a failure to reach agreement on verification. U.S. officials later claim that North Korea refused to agree in writing what it agreed verbally in October. The six parties issue a chairman’s statement in which they agree “to implement in parallel the disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities and the provision of economic and energy assistance.”

December 12, 2008: State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack says that heavy fuel oil shipments to North Korea will not continue without a verification agreement, stating that “there is an understanding among the parties...that fuel oil shipments will not go forward absent progress.” China and Russia deny such an understanding and indicate that they intend to complete their share of the energy assistance.


January 13, 2009: The North Korean Foreign Ministry issues a statement insisting that verification activities for nuclear disarmament should be carried out reciprocally between North and South Korea. It states that “free field access should be ensured to verify the introduction and deployment of U.S. nukes in South Korea and details about their withdrawal,” including verification procedures “on a regular basis” to prevent their reintroduction.

January 13-17, 2009: During a visit to Pyongyang, North Korean officials tell scholar Selig Harrison that the country’s declared stock of plutonium has “already been weaponized” and could not be inspected. Harrison relays North Korea’s claims in congressional testimony on February 12.

January 15-19, 2009: Hwang Joon-kook, South Korean deputy six-party talks negotiator, travels to North Korea to discuss Seoul’s potential purchase of about 14,000 fresh nuclear fuel rods previously produced at the Yongbyon complex. South Korean officials later indicate that Pyongyang demanded an exorbitant amount for the fuel and no deal was made.

February 3, 2009: Quoting unnamed South Korean officials, South Korea’s Yonhap newspaper reports that North Korea is preparing to test-launch its Taepo Dong 2 missile. Speculation about such a launch increases in the following days.

February 20, 2009: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton names Ambassador Stephen Bosworth to serve as U.S. special representative for North Korea policy.

February 24, 2009: KCNA states that “preparations for launching [an] experimental communications satellite...are now making brisk headway.” The United States, Japan, and South Korea later warn North Korea that its planned satellite launch would be in violation of a UN Security Council resolution 1718 and indicate that the council would consider the issue for further action, should North Korea go through with the launch.

March 11, 2009: North Korean authorities inform the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization that they will launch a satellite launch vehicle between April 4-8. North Korea provides these agencies with information regarding expected “dangerous area coordinates” where two of the rocket’s three stages are expected to fall.

March 13, 2009: South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan tells reporters that South Korea may need to review the possibility of formally joining the Proliferation Security Initiative in response to the upcoming North Korean rocket launch.

April 5, 2009: North Korea launches the three-stage Unha-2 rocket, widely believed to be a modified version of its long range Taepo Dong-2 ballistic missile. Although North Korea claims the rocket placed a satellite into orbit, U.S. Northern Command reports that the first stage landed in the Sea of Japan, and that the remaining stages, along with the payload fell into the Pacific Ocean.

April 13, 2009: The UN Security Council issues a presidential statement condemning North Korea’s April 5 rocket launch, and declaring it “in contravention of Security Council resolution 1718.” The statement also calls for strengthening the punitive measures under that resolution.

April 14, 2009: In response to UN Security Council statement, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry indicates that Pyongyang is withdrawing from the six-party talks and “will no longer be bound” by any of its agreements. North Korea also says that it will reverse steps taken to disable its nuclear facilities under six-party agreements in 2007 and will “fully reprocess” the 8,000 spent fuel rods from its Yongbyon reactor in order to extract plutonium for nuclear weapons.

April 16, 2009: North Korea ejects IAEA and U.S. monitors from the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

April 24, 2009: The UN Security Council places financial restrictions on three North Korean firms believed to be participating in proliferation: Korea Mining Development Trading Corp., Tanchon Commercial Bank, and Korea Ryongbong General Corp.

May 25, 2009: North Korea conducts its second underground nuclear test a few kilometers from its 2006 test site near the village of P’unggye. Following the test North Korea announces that “the results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in furthering increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology.” Early yield estimates range from 2-8 kilotons, although the Russian Defense Ministry initially suggests a yield of 15-20 kilotons.

The UN Security Council convenes an emergency meeting and releases a presidential statement condemning the test as a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1718. The council also announces that it will meet to pass a new resolution dealing with the test.

May 26, 2009: South Korea officially announces that it will participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative.

May 27, 2009: KCNA carries a statement indicating that Pyongyang considers Seoul’s participation in PSI to be an act of war and that North Korea’s Korean People’s Army will no longer be bound by the 1953 Armistice Agreement which brought an end to hostilities during the Korean War.

June 12, 2009: In response to North Korea’s May 25 nuclear test, the UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1874, which expands sanctions against Pyongyang. The resolution intensified inspection regime to prevent proliferation to and from North Korea, calls for enhanced financial restrictions against North Korea and North Korean firms, a nearly comprehensive arms embargo on the country, and strengthened council oversight over the implementation of the resolution. It also bars North Korea from carrying out any further missile tests.

June 13, 2009: The North Korean Foreign ministry issues a statement outlining “countermeasures” Pyongyang would take in response to UNSC Resolution 1874.  The measures included weaponizing all newly separated plutonium from the spent fuel from its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, continuing to develop a uranium enrichment capability, and responding militarily to any blockade.

July 16, 2009: The UN Security Council places 10 North Korean entities linked to the countries missile and nuclear program on the list of sanctioned organizations and people.

August 4, 2009: Former President Bill Clinton visits North Korea in order to secure the release of two U.S. journalists who were accused of spying, meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

August 5, 2009: The state-run Korean Central News Agency issues a statement saying that former President Bill Clinton’s August 4 visit, to secure the release of two U.S. journalists, will help build “bilateral confidence.”

August 10, 2009: Indian police tell reporters that they detained and inspected the North Korean ship MV Mu San but did not discover any radioactive materials.

August 12, 2009: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appoints an eight-person panel of experts to the UN Security Council’s 1718 committee to assess the implementation of the sanctions on North Korea in accordance with Resolution 1874.

September 11, 2009: State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley tells reporters that the United States is “prepared to enter into a bilateral discussion with North Korea” as a precursor to resuming the six-party talks.

October 5, 2009: Xinhua News Agency reports that Kim Jong-Il informed Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that Pyongyang was ready to return to multilateral talks provided bilateral talks with the United States yielded a favorable result.

October 20, 2009: Ian Kelly, State Department spokesman, tells reporters that North Korea issued a standing invitation for Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, to visit Pyongyang.

November 3, 2009: KCNA reports that North Korea has reprocessed the last 8,000 fuel rods from the Yongbyon reactor.

November 9, 2009: P. J. Crowley, State Department spokesman, tells reporters that Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth will lead a group to Pyongyang for direct talks with the North Korean government.

November 19, 2009: At a joint press conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, President Obama says that the United States and South Korea are committed to pursuing “concrete” action on Pyongyang’s part to roll back its nuclear program.

December 8-10, 2009: Officials for the Obama administration hold their first senior-level meetings with the North Korean government in Pyongyang. U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth leads to delegation to Pyongyang, where he delivers a letter from President Obama to Kim Jong-Il.

December 12, 2009: Authorities in Thailand, acting on a tip from the United States, seize 35 tons of weapons from a North Korean plane that made an unscheduled landing in Bangkok. According to the Thai government, the plane was heading to the Middle East.


January 11, 2010: The North Korean Foreign Ministry issues a statement suggesting talks begin on replacing the 1953 ceasefire with a peace treaty.

January 24, 2010: Pyongyang threatens war with South Korea in response to Seoul’s statement that it would invade North Korea if there was the threat of a nuclear strike.


February 9, 2010: Xinhua News Agency reports that Kim Jong Il informed Chinese authorities that Pyongyang is still committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

February 12, 2010: UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lyn Pascoe tells reporters that North Korea “are not eager” to resume the six-party talks.

March 26, 2010: The South Korean patrol ship Cheonan is sunk near the South Korean-North Korean maritime border.

April 14, 2010: Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, tells reporters that the United States supports South Korea’s decision to stop engagement with North Korea until after the Cheonan sinking incident is resolved.

April 19, 2010: Yu Myung-hwan, South Korea’s Foreign Minister, says that talks with North Korea will not occur “for some time” if his government uncovers evidence that North Korea was involved in the Cheonan’s sinking.

April 21, 2010: North Korean state media reports that Pyongyang issued a memorandum stating that the country will be party to nonproliferation and disarmament agreements “on an equal footing with other nuclear weapons states.”

April 25, 2010: During a press conference, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young says that one of the most likely causes of the Cheonan’s sinking is a torpedo. North Korea denies any involvement in the incident.

May 20, 2010: The multinational Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group (JIG) releases its findings regarding the March 26 sinking of the ROKS Cheonan. The JIG concludes that North Korea was responsible for firing the torpedo that sank the South Korean ship.

May 20, 2010: South Korea makes a formal accusation against North Korea for sinking the South Korean ship the Cheonan with a torpedo attack.

May 20, 2010: North Korea denies involvement in the Cheonan sinking, and issues a statement saying that any punishment will be met with “various forms of tough measures.”

May 24, 2010: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says that South Korea will sever almost all trade with Pyongyang in response to North Korea’s sinking of the ROKS Cheonan.

May 25, 2010: North Korea says that it will cut all links to South Korea in response to Seoul’s accusation that Pyongyang was responsible for sinking the ship Cheonan.

July 21, 2010: The United States imposes new sanctions against Pyongyang for its involvement in the sinking of the South Korean ship the Cheonan.

July 25, 2010: The United States and South Korea begin a four-day joint military exercise in the Sea of Japan as a show of force in response to the Cheonan incident.

August 25, 2010: Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in Pyongyang on a goodwill mission to bring home U.S. citizen Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who was arrested after entering North Korea from China.

August 30, 2010: President Obama signs an executive order that increases financial restrictions against North Korea. The Department of Treasury also announces that it has sanctioned eight North Korean entities for involvement in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

September 15, 2010: In an op-ed published in the New York Times, former President Jimmy Carter writes that during his August visit he received “clear, strong signals” that North Korea wants to restart negotiations.

September 15, 2010: Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, tells reporters that it will be a slow road to resuming six-party talks with North Korea and the talks will only occur after “specific and concrete” actions by Pyongyang.

September 28, 2010: The ruling Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) convened its third Conference in Pyongyang, the first such gathering in 44 years. The conference entailed a number of leadership changes, including the appointment of Kim Jong Il’s third son, Kim Jong Eun, as a Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

November 12, 2010: North Korea reveals that it has constructed a 2,000-centrifuge uranium enrichment facility to a visiting team of North Korea specialists, including former Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Siegfried Hecker. North Korean officials claim that the facility will produce LEU for an LWR which North Korea also reveals is under construction. Pyongyang also admits for the first time that it can produce uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the feedstock for uranium enrichment, confirming long-held suspicions about the presence of such a capability. The construction of the LWR is slated for 2012, the 100-year anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, but in a Nov. 20 trip report, Hecker expresses doubts about that timeline. The enrichment plant is housed in the former fuel fabrication building for the graphite-moderated reactors at Yongbyon, and the LWR is being constructed at the former site of the 5 megawatt reactor's cooling tower.

November 23, 2010: North Korea fires artillery rounds at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, 200 of which hit the island killing two soldiers and injuring seventeen others. Three civilians were also hurt in the attack. South Korea returned fire and scrambled combat aircraft in the area.

November 29, 2010: In response to the Yeonpyeong shelling, China calls for an emergency session of the six-party talks to “exchange views on major issues of concern”.

December 6, 2010: The United States, Japan, and South Korea reject China’s call for an emergency session of six-party talks, maintaining that North-South relations must improve before multilateral discussions can continue.


February 16, 2011: In Senate testimony, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says that North Korea likely has additional undeclared uranium enrichment facilities beyond the facility first revealed in November of 2010.

February 28, 2011: U.S. and South Korean forces conduct large-scale joint military exercises. North Korea threatens to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire” in response to the exercises, which U.S. officials claim was planned long in advance of the recent peak in tensions.

March 15, 2011: North Korea tells a visiting Russian official that it is willing to return to six-party talks and to talk about its uranium-enrichment activities.

March 17, 2011: South Korea rejects the latest North Korean offer, calling for actions to show the sincerity of North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization before multilateral talks can begin again.

April 18, 2011: China proposes three-step revitalization of multilateral talks, beginning with bilateral talks between North and South Korea, followed by similar talks between the United States and North Korea, and, finally, a resumption of the six-party discussions.

April 18, 2011: U.S. President Barack Obama issues an executive order reaffirming a ban on the import of goods, services, and technologies from North Korea.

April 26, 2011: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visits Pyongyang, accompanied by three other former heads of state, in a bid to revitalize negotiations.

May 9, 2011: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak introduces the possibility of inviting North Korea to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, on the condition that the North commits to giving up nuclear weapons. A North Korean spokesperson rejected the precondition, stating that denuclearization was an attempt by the South to open the way for an invasion.

June 13, 2011: U.S. warship forces a North Korean freight vessel to turn back off the coast of China. The vessel was believed to be carrying a shipment of missile components to Burma. The North Korean ship refused to be inspected, but voluntarily reversed course after being shadowed by the U.S. destroyer.

July 22, 2011: Wi Sung-lac, the South Korean envoy to the six-party talks, met with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Bali as part of efforts to restart dialog regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

July 24, 2011: The foreign ministers of Japan, South Korea, and the United States issue a statement welcoming the discussion that took place during the North-South meeting and saying that it “should be a ­sustained process going forward.”

July 28-29, 2011: U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth and North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan meet in New York, as part of efforts to revive multilateral talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. This marked the first high-level meeting between the United States and North Korea in nearly two years, and the United States reportedly reiterated its willingness to restart negotiations if North Korea displayed committed itself to being a constructive partner in the negotiation process.

August 1, 2011: A North Korean Foreign Ministry statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency expressesPyongyang’s interest in resuming multilateral talks with the United States “at an early date.”

August 24, 2011: After a meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Pyongyang says that it would be willing to observe a moratorium on the production and testing of nuclear weapons and missiles in the context of resumed talks.

September 24, 2011: During a diplomatic trip to China, North Korea Prime Minister Choe Yong Rim reiterates the position Kim Jong Il expressed to Russia a month earlier, telling China’s top officials that Pyongyang remained willing to consider a moratorium on nuclear testing in the context of the 6 party talks.

October 24-25, 2011: The United States and North Korea hold a round of talks in Geneva on steps to resume the six-party process. Ambassador Glyn Davies takes over for Ambassador Stephen Bosworth as the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy.

December 17, 2011: After holding power for 17 years, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dies.  He is succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be about 28 years old.

December 29, 2011: Kim Jong Un is formally declared North Korea’s new leader.


February 29, 2012: Following a Feb. 23-24 meeting between the United States and North Korea in Beijing, the two countries announce in separate statements an agreement by North Korea to suspend operations at its Yongbyon uranium enrichment plant, invite IAEA inspectors to monitor the suspension, and implement moratoriums on nuclear and long-range missile tests.  The United States says that it would provide North Korea 240,000 metric tons of food aid under strict monitoring.

March 16, 2012: North Korea announces it will launch a satellite in mid-April to celebrate the centennial birthdate of the country’s founder Kim Il Sung. The United States says that the launch would violate a Feb. 29 agreement in which North Korea pledged not to launch any long-range missiles and would undermine Pyongyang’s credibility regarding the monitoring of food aid and other commitments.

March 29, 2012: Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs Peter Lavoy tells the House Armed Services Committee that the United States has suspended arrangements to deliver food aid to North Korea under a Feb. 29 agreement due to the North’s announced satellite launch.

April 13, 2012: North Korea attempts to launch a weather satellite using the Unha-3, a three-stage liquid-fueled rocket, from its Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the southwest corner of the country. During the first stage, after approximately 90 seconds, the rocket falls apart after veering slightly east from its intended course.  The first stage appeared to be comprised of a cluster of four Nodong medium-range ballistic missiles engines. The second stage, which appeared to be based on a BM-25 Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile did not ignite. It is unclear what caused the rocket launch to fail. Analysts speculate that there may have been a structural failure in the second stage, or that not all four of the engines in the first stage fired correctly. North Korea admits that the launch is a failure, which it did not do after the April 2009 launch, when the North Korean public was told that the satellite successfully entered orbit. The US officially halts its plans to send food aid to North Korea.

April 15, 2012: In a parade honoring the 100th birthday of North Korea founder Kim Il-Sung, North Korea reveals six road-mobile ICBMs in a military parade, the KN-08, although most experts conclude that the missiles are mock-ups based on imagery analysis that reveals significant abnormalities in the design features.

April 16, 2012: The United Nations Security Council condemns North Korea's satellite launch because of applicability to ballistic missile development, declaring that it acted in violation of Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009), and calls upon North Korea to comply with the provisions under the resolutions or face a tightening of sanctions.

April 19, 2012: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta tells the House Armed Services Committee that North Korea is getting "some help" from China on its missile development, but says that he does not know the extent of the assistance provided.

December 1, 2012: North Korea announces it will attempt another satellite launch using a long-range rocket between the dates of December 10-22. The rocket, also called the Unha-3, will be launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and follow the same trajectory as the April 13, 2012 launch. In response, the United States Department of State issues a statement saying that it would view a satellite launch as a "highly provocative act" that would threaten the peace and security of the region.

December 9, 2012: North Korea detects a deficiency in the first stage of the rocket, after it has been assembled at Sohae, and announces an extension of the launch window through December 29.

December 12, 2012: North Korea launches the Unha-3. Shortly after the launch the North Korean Central News Agency reports that the launch was a success and the satellite entered orbit. Japanese and South Korean officials confirm the launch and report that debris splashed down in the areas that North Korea indicated for the first and second stages. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) also confirms the launch and says that an object appears to have achieved orbit.


January 22, 2013: The United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 2087 in response to North Korea's Dec. 12 satellite launch, which used technology applicable to ballistic missiles in violation of resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009). Resolution 2087 strengthens and expands existing sanctions put in place by the earlier resolutions and freezes the assets of additional North Korean individuals and people.

January 24, 2013: The North Korean National Defense Commission announces its intentions to conduct another nuclear test and continue rocket launches.

February 12, 2013: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) detects seismic activity near North Korea's nuclear test site. CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth says that the activity has "explosion-like characteristics" and confirms that the activity comes from the area of the 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests. The South Korean Defense Ministry estimated the yield at 6-7 kilotons in the immediate aftermath and called for a UN Security Council Meeting.

March 7, 2013: The United Nations Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 2094 in response to North Korea's nuclear test on February 12, 2013. Resolution 2094 strengthens existing sanctions by expanding the scope of materials covered and adds additional financial sanctions, including blocking bulk cash transfers. Additional individuals and entities also are identified for asset freezes.

April 23, 2013: The CTBTO announces that its international monitoring system detected radioactive gases at stations in Japan and Russia. The CTBTO concludes that the gases were likely released during an event approximately 50 days prior to the April 9 detection, which coincides with North Korea's February 13 nuclear test.

April 2013: North Korea announces it plans to restart its heavy water reactor at Yongbyon.

July 15, 2013: A North Korean ship stopped in Panama is found to be carrying weapons from Cuba. The shipment included small arms, light weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, artillery ammunition, and MiG aircraft in violation of UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit North Korea from importing and exporting weaponry.

August 2013: Satellite imagery indicates that North Korea likely restarted a nuclear reactor at its Yongbyon site. The heavy water reactor in question produced the spent fuel from which North Korea separated weapons-usable plutonium for its nuclear arsenal. The reactor was shut down in 2007.

September 20, 2013: The IAEA General Conference adopts a resolution calling on North Korea to come into full compliance with the NPT and cooperate in the full implementation of the IAEA safeguards.


March 8, 2014: China declares a “red line” on North Korea, saying it will not permit war or chaos on the Korean peninsula and that the only path to peace can only come through denuclearization.

March 21, 2014: North Korea test-fires 30 short-range rockets off its east coast, the latest in series of military actions condemned by South Korea.

March 26, 2014: North Korea test-fires two medium-range Rodang  (also known as No Dong) missiles into the Sea of Japan, violating UN sanctions. This is the first time in five years that North Korea has tested medium-range projectiles.

March 27, 2014: UN Security Council unanimously condemns North Korea for launching the midrange missiles, saying the launch violates council resolutions; China joins the council in criticizing the launch.

March 30, 2014: North Korea threatens to carry out a 'new form' of nuclear test, one year after its third nuclear test raised military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and prompted the UN to tighten sanctions. Pyongyang does not specify what it means by a 'new form,' but some speculate that it plans to make nuclear devices small enough to fit on ballistic missiles.

March 31, 2014: North Korea and South Korea fire hundreds of artillery shells across the disputed Western Sea border. While the shells fall harmlessly into the water, it is the most serious confrontation since an artillery duel in 2010. 

April 4, 2014: South Korea conducts its own missile test amid rising military threats from North Korea, successfully launching a newly developed ballistic missile capable of striking most of the North.

May 2, 2014: New commercial satellite imagery shows that North Korea is expanding its main rocket-launching site and testing engines of what is believed to be its first road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, according to the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

June 27, 2014: North Korea fires three short-range projectiles off its east coast, days after it warned of retaliation against the release of American comedy film The Interview, which involves a plot to kill Kim Jong-un.

August 22, 2014: Satellite images indicate that North Korea is likely to have the ability to launch a longer-range rocket that can carry a heavier payload by the end of this year.

September 6, 2014: South Korean military says North Korea launched three short-range projectiles off its east coast.

October 2014: Analysis from the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins indicates that North Korea has a submarine at the Sinpo South Shipyard that may be a test bed for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. A test-stand, likely for exploring the possibilities of launching ballistic missiles from submarines or ships is also identified at the shipyard.

October 25, 2014: General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of US forces in South Korea, says he believes that North Korea can fit a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile, a process known as miniaturization.

November 20 2014: North Korea threatens to conduct a fourth nuclear test after the UN Human Rights Committee refers North Korea to the International Criminal Court for human rights abuses on November 19.

November 20, 2014: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announces that a North Korean special envoy told Russian President Vladimir Putin that North Korea is ready to resume the Six-Party Talks.


January 2, 2015: The United States expands sanctions on North Korean entities and individuals, some of which are involved with North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

January 10, 2015: North Korea announces it offered to suspend nuclear testing in exchange for the United States and South Korea calling off annual joint-military exercises slated for spring 2015. The United States rejects the offer.

February 7, 2015: North Korea claims to test a new anti-ship missile. Kim Jong Un reportedly oversees the test. 

February 8, 2015: North Korea tests five short-range ballistic missiles from Wonsan. The missiles fly approximately 125 miles northeast into the ocean.

April 7, 2015: Adm William Gortney, head of U.S. North Command, tells reporters that North Korea's ICBM, the KN-08 is operational, despite never having been tested. Experts dispute the assessment.

May 9, 2015: North Korea successfully launches a ballistic missile, which it claims came from a submarine, that traveled about 150 meters. Experts believe the missile was launched from a submerged barge.

November 28, 2015: North Korea tests a ballistic missile from a submarine. The missile test fails.

December 8, 2015: The U.S. Treasury Department announces additional designations under Executive Orders 13551 and 13382. This includes the State Department designating North Korea's Strategic Rocket Force under 13382 for engaging in activities that contribute to delivery vehicles capable of carrying WMDs. Several banks involved with proliferation financing were also named as were three shipping companies.

December 21, 2015: North Korea tests another ballistic missile from a submarine. This test is reported as a success.


January 6, 2016: North Korea announces it conducted a fourth nuclear weapons test, claiming to have detonated a hydrogen bomb for the first time. Monitoring stations from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization detect the seismic activity from the test. The type of device tested remains unclear, although experts doubt it was of a hydrogen bomb based on seismic evidence.

February 7, 2016: North Korea launches a long-range ballistic missile carrying what it has said is an earth observation satellite in defiance of United Nations sanctions barring it from using ballistic missile technology, drawing strong international condemnation from other governments which believe it will advance North Korea's military ballistic missile capabilities.

March 2, 2016: The UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2270 condemning the nuclear test and launch of early 2016, and demanding that North Korea not conduct further tests and immediately suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program. Resolution 2270 expands existing sanctions on North Korea by adding to the list of sanctioned individuals and entities, introducing new financial sanctions, and banning states from supplying aviation fuel and other specified minerals to North Korea. Resolution 2270 also introduces a requirement that UN member states inspect all cargo in transit to or from North Korea for illicit goods and arms.

April 15, 2016: North Korea test launches an intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Mususdan, which was not known to have been flight-tested prior to the April 15 launch. The missile test is a failure. The UN Security Council issues a statement condemning the launch as a "clear violation" of existing Security Council resolutions. 

April 23, 2016: North Korea tests a KN-11 submarine launch ballistic missile. The missile flew approximately 30 kilometers before exploding, according to South Korean officials. 

April 24, 2016: The UN Security Council condemns North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missile test. 

April 28, 2016: North Korea tests two intermediate-range Musudan missiles. The tests are reported as a failure. 

May 6-9, 2016: North Korea holds its seventh Congress for its ruling Korean Workers' Party. During the Congress, Kim Jong Un describes North Korea's nuclear policy, saying North Korea "will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes, as it had already declared."

May 30, 2016: North Korea tests another intermediate-range Musudan missile. 

May 31, 2016: Satellite imagery analysis from 38 North assess that North Korea is "preparing to commence or has already begun” reprocessing nuclear material to separate additional plutonium for weapons use.

June 21, 2016: North Korea conducts two additional intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile tests, bringing the total number of Musudan tests to six since April. One of the tests is a partial success, as the missile flew an estimated 400 kilometers. The other explodes in midflight after approximately 150 kilometers.

June 22, 2016: The UN Security Council holds an emergency session to consider North Korea's missile tests. 

June 23, 2016: The Security Council releases a statement strongly condemning North Korea's recent ballistic missile launches and calls on member states to fully implement UN Security Council measures imposed by council resolutions. 

July 6, 2016: North Korea signals a willingness to resume negotiations on denuclearization and defines denuclearization in a statement by a government spokesperson.  

July 6, 2016: The US Department of Treasury announces designations on top North Korean officials, including the leader, Kim Jong Un, over ties to human rights abuses in North Korea. 

July 8, 2016: South Korea and the United States announce a decision to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery (THAAD), to South Korea. The missile defense system is "a defensive measure to ensure the security" of South Korea. THAAD is designed to intercept short and medium-range ballistic missiles. 

August 3, 2016: North Korea fires a medium-range ballistic missile, the Nodong. The missile splashes down in Japan's economic exclusion zone, about 200 kilometers off of Japan's coast. 

August 24, 2016: North Korea tests an SLBM, the KN-11. The missile ejects from a submarine and flies approximately 500 kilometers on a lofted trajectory before splashing down in the ocean. The test appears to be a success. 

September 5, 2016: North Korea tests three medium-range ballistic missiles simultaneously. The missiles travel about 1,000 kilometers. 

September 9, 2016: North Korea conducts a fifth nuclear test. The seismic activity registers a magnitude of 5.0. 

October 14, 2016: North Korea conducts a failed test of what is believed to be the intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile. The missile explodes soon after lift-off.

October 19, 2016: North Korea conducts a failed test of what is believed to be the intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile. The missile explodes shortly after lift-off. This is the eighth test of the Musudan in 2016. Only the June launch was a success. 

October 25, 2016: U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says that "the notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearize is probably a lost cause" and that nuclear weapons are North Korea's "ticket to survival." 


February 12, 2017: North Korea tests a new ballistic missile, the Pukguksong-2. North Korean media calls the test a success. The missile flew about 500 kilometers at a lofted trajectory. Imagery suggests that the Pukguksong-2 is a solid-fueled, medium-range system based on a submarine-launched ballistic missile that North Korea has been testing for several years. The test utilized 'cold-launch' technology, meaning that the missile was ejected from its canister using compressed gas. The transport erector launcher used for the missile test was also domestically manufactured in North Korea. 

February 13, 2017: Kim Jong Nam, the older half-brother of Kim Jong Un, is killed in an airport in Malaysia. Tests reveal that he died from exposure to VX, a nerve agent. VX is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, but North Korea has not signed or ratified that treaty. North Korea denies responsibility for the assassination. 

March 6, 2017: North Korea launches four ballistic missiles from a region near North Korea's border with China. The missiles fly about 1,000 kilometers and land in Japanese economic exclusion zone, about 300 kilometers off the coast Japan. 

April 5, 2017: North Korea tests a ballistic missile. The missile explodes shortly after the launch.

April 6, 2017: U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet and agree to cooperate more closely on achieving denuclearization of North Korea.  

April 15, 2017: North Korea celebrates the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung, with a parade that displays several new ballistic missiles, including a new variant of the KN-08 and two canister systems. It is unclear if the canisters hold new ICBMs. 

April 16, 2017: North Korea tests a ballistic missile. The missile explodes shortly after the launch. 

April 17, 2017: Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, Susan Thornton, tells reporters about the U.S. policy toward North Korea, which officials describe as "maximum pressure and engagement." Thornton said that Washington is looking for a "tangible signal" from North Korea about its seriousness in engaging in talks and there is not a "specific precondition." 

April 26, 2017: The Trump Administration briefs Congress on its North Korea policy and releases a statement that calls for increasing sanctions pressure on North Korea and working with allies and regional partners on diplomacy. 

April 27, 2017: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says in an interview with NPR that the United States is open to direct talks with North Korea on the "right agenda." He says that denuclearization is still the goal for any agreement. 

April 28, 2017: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chairs a special meeting of the UN Security Council. In opening remarks, he says that North Korea must take "concrete steps to reduce the threat that its illegal weapons programs pose" before talks can begin.

May 2, 2017: The THAAD missile defense system becomes operational in South Korea. 

May 9, 2017: Moon Jae-in is elected president of South Korea. Moon supports engagement with North Korea, but says talks cannot occur while Pyongyang continues to conduct nuclear and missile tests.  

May 14, 2017: North Korea tests the Hwasong-12 missile. The missile test is successful with a range of 4,800 kilometers on a standard trajectory, making it an intermediate-range ballistic missile. 

June 1, 2017: The United States imposes sanctions on individuals and entities linked to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

June 29-30, 2017: South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at a summit in Washington, DC. The leaders pledge to continue working together on North Korea.  

July 3, 3017: North Korea tests its Hwasong-14 ballistic missile. Initial analysis of the test indicates that the range would have been about 6,700 kilometers at a standard trajectory, making it an ICBM. 

July 28, 2017: Japan, South Korea, and the United States report that North Korea tested an ICBM. Initial analysis of the test indicates a range of about 10,400km, not taking into account the rotation of the Earth, putting Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago within range. Russia claimed the missile was a medium-range ballistic missile.

August 5, 2017: The UN Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 2371, which imposes additional sanctions, including a complete ban on the export of coal, iron, seafood and lead, on North Korea in response to the July ICBM tests. See UN Security Council Resolutions on North Korea for more information.

August 8, 2017: A leaked Defense Intelligence Agency report found that North Korea has produced miniaturized nuclear warheads for ballistic missile delivery, including for ICBMs.

On the same day, in response to North Korean criticism of the United States, President Trump told reporters that "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.... They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

August 9, 2017: In response to Trump's remarks, North Korean made a statement detailing a plan to test four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which would fly over Japan and land in the waters 30-40km from the coast of Guam.  

August 10, 2017: Trump told reporters that his previous threat of "fire and fury" should North Korea continue to threaten the United States may not have been "tough enough".

August 11, 2017: Trump tweeted: "military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

August 14, 2017: Kim Jong Un declares that after receiving Guam strike plans, he will wait to see what Washington's next move is before making a decision.

August 25, 2017: North Korea tests three short-range ballistic missiles to the northeast, two of which flew about 155 miles, and one of which blew up immediately.

August 28, 2017: North Korea tests its Hwasong-12 missile, which flew over 2,700km and overflew Japan. In a statement the next day, President Trump claims "all options are on the table."

September 2, 2017: North Korea official state media releases photos of Kim Jong Un with what it claims is a thermonuclear weapon small enough to fit on an ICBM that could reach the continental United States.

September 3, 2017: North Korea conducts its sixth nuclear test, claiming the device tested was a hydrogen bomb and the test was a "perfect success." Seismic activity indicates that North Korea did conduct its largest nuclear test to date at 3:30 UTC. The initial estimate from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is that the seismic event's magnitude was around 5.8, occurred at a very shallow depth, and took place in the immediate vicinity of North Korea's Pyunggye-ri test site. Based on the seismic data, a number of experts assess the device had an explosive yield in excess of 100 kilotons TNT equivalent, which is significantly higher than North Korea's past nuclear tests. North Korea's claim that the device was a hydrogen bomb cannot be independently substantiated but the higher yield could be indicative of a boosted fission or thermonuclear device. The CTBTO's seismic estimate was later revised to 6.1 on September 7.

September 4, 2017: In remarks at an emergency UN Security Council briefing called in the wake of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley states “being a nuclear power is not about using those terrible weapons to threaten others. Nuclear powers understand their responsibilities.”

September 11, 2017: The UN Security Council passes UNSCR 2375 imposing additional sanctions on North Korea, including a ban on textile exports and a cap on refined petroleum product imports. 

September 15, 2017: North Korea conducts a ballistic missile test. The test appears to be an intermediate-range Hwasong-12. The missile over flew Japan on a standard trajectory and reportedly traveled about 3,700 kilometers. 

September 19, 2017: In his first address to the UN General Assembly, President Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea,” if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies, adding “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

September 21, 2017: President Trump issues an executive order imposing additional sanctions on entities that facilitate financial transactions and trade with North Korea.

September 21, 2017: Kim Jong Un responds to Trump’s UN speech with an unprecedented statement under his own name, calling Trump’s behavior “mentally deranged” and asserting that “a frightened dog barks louder.” Kim Jong Un further stated that Trump’s words “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is the correct and that one I have to follow to the last.” He threatened, “exercising...a corresponding, highest level of hardline countermeasure in history” and declared he would make Trump “pay dearly for his speech.”

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho explains that the “highest level” action Kim Jong Un referred to in his statement could be a hydrogen bomb test in or over the Pacific Ocean, although he claimed he had “no idea what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong Un. Ri also says that Trump’s comments make “our rocket’s visit to the U.S. mainland inevitable all the more.”

September 23, 2017: U.S. B1-B strategic bombers fly near North Korea’s coast, the farthest north they have flown in the 21st century.

Trump tweets that North Korea “wouldn’t be around much longer” if he echoes “Little Rocket Man.”

September 25, 2017: At a press conference in New York, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho claims that Trump’s comments at the UN General Assembly and on Twitter constituted a declaration of war and that North Korea therefore has a right to shoot down U.S. strategic bombers. 

October 19, 2017: Speaking at a Foundation for Defense and Democracy event, U.S. national security advisor H.R. McMaster rejects deterrence with North Korea, insisting on the country's complete denuclearization.

November 6, 2017: U.S. President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe meet during Trump's visit to Japan. According to a White House press release, the two leaders vowed to boost trilateral cooperation with South Korea to address the North Korean nuclear threat and Trump "underscored the commitment" of the United States to provide Japan with defensive equipment, including ballistic missile defenses.

November 7, 2017: President Trump delivers an address to the South Korean National Assembly, the first address by a U.S. President since President Clinton's in 1993. In his speech, Trump addresses Kim Jong Un directly, warning him not to underestimate the United States. Trump also states that in order to begin talks, Pyongyang would need to first take steps towards denuclearization. 

November 8, 2017: U.S. President Trump meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-In. In a joint statement released after the summit, the two leaders emphasize that they will work together to counter the threat posed by North Korea and call on China to use its leverage to achieve a diplomatic solution.

November 20, 2017: President Trump officially designates North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. North Korea had been previously designated as a state sponsor of terrorism but was removed from the list in 2008.

November 29, 2017: North Korea launches an intercontinental ballistic missile from Pyongsong at 3:17 am local time, which flew for about 53 minutes, traveling 1000km on a lofted trajectory and landing in the Sea of Japan. The U.S. State Department releases a statement condemning the test but declaring that "diplomatic options remain open and viable, for now."

December 22, 2017: The UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2397, imposing additional sanctions on North Korea, including cutting refined petroleum imports by nearly 90 percent, limiting crude oil exports to 4 million barrels and mandating the expulsion of North Korean workers from other countries in two years or less.


January 1, 2018: Kim Jong Un announces in his annual New Years address that North Korea's nuclear forces are "capable of thwarting and countering any nuclear threats from the United States" and says North Korea will mass produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for deployment. Kim offers to send a delegation to South Korea for the upcoming Olympics and calls for talks with Seoul to discuss the prospects of North Korea's participation.

January 2, 2018: South Korea says it is willing to meet with North Korea and proposes talks at Panmunjom. To discuss the possibility of talks, North Korea reestablishes a hotline between the two states that it had disconnected nearly two years ago after the Kaesong industrial complex was shut down.

January 4, 2018: President Trump and President Moon Jae-in agree to postpone the annual "Foal Eagle" U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises until after the Winter Olympics in South Korea in an effort to "de-conflict" the Games and "focus on ensuring the security" of the event.

January 9, 2018: Representatives from North and South Korea meet at Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone for the first inter-Korean talks since 2015. The two sides agree to reopen a military-to-military hotline that had been closed since February 2016 and North Korea announces it will send a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, although it makes a "strong complaint" after South Korean representatives propose talks on denuclearization. 

January 16, 2018: Canada and the United States co-host a summit in Vancouver with foreign ministers from 20 countries that supported South Korea under the UN flag in the Korean War to discuss North Korea. Implementation and enforcement of existing UN sanctions on North Korea is a key focus of the meeting. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calls on Russian and China, neither of which was invited to attend, to better implement sanctions and emphasizes the importance of interdiction of illicit cargo. Tillerson reiterates the U.S. rejection of the Russian-Chinese "freeze-for-freeze" proposal and the position that North Korea must demonstrate a commitment to denuclearization before talks can begin.

February 8, 2018: North Korea holds a military parade where it displays a new solid-fuel short-range ballistic missile. Among other missiles, the parade also shows off two different intercontinental ballistic missile designs, the Hwasong-14 and the Hwasong-15, both of which were tested in 2017. 

February 10, 2018: Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un's sister, meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, and invites Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang for a summit meeting. Kim Yo Jong attended the Winter Olympics from February 9-11, once sitting a row behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. A scheduled meeting between Pence and Kim Yo Jong was reportedly cancelled when Kim Yo Jong pulled out at the last minute, citing new U.S. sanctions and Pence's meeting with North Korean defectors.

March 5, 2018: Two top aides of South Korean President Moon Jae-in meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Chung Eui-yong, Moon's national security advisor, and Suh Hoon, South Korean director of the National Intelligence Service, are the first South Korean envoys sent to North Korea in 11 years.

March 6, 2018: South Korean officials report that North Korea "expressed its willingness to begin earnest negotiations with the U.S. to discuss denuclearization issues," as long as its security is guaranteed as part of a five-point agreement that Kim Jong Un and two South Korean envoys reached during their visit to North Korea. The two countries reportedly also agree on a North-South Korean summit at the end of April, establishing a hotline between President Moon and Kim, that North Korea would not conduct missile tests during U.S.-North Korean talks and that North Korea would not use nuclear or conventional weapons against South Korea.

March 8, 2018: South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong briefs senior White House officials and President Trump on the high-level discussions between North Korean and South Korean officials in Pyongyang just days earlier, including the commitments made by Kim Jong Un not to conduct nuclear or ballistic missile test while talks with the United States take place. From the White House lawn following his meeting with Trump, Chung Eui-yong announces that Trump accepted Kim Jong Un's invitation to "meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization." The meeting would be the first between a sitting U.S. President and a North Korean leader. U.S. officials clarified that evening that talks would take place at a place and time to be determined and that "in the meantime all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain."

March 25-28, 2018: Kim Jong Un visits Beijing, meeting with President Xi Jinping, in his first trip outside of North Korea since taking power in 2011 and his first meeting with another head of state.

April 17-18, 2018: U.S. President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet in their third major summit. According to a White House statement, "President Trump and Prime Minister Abe confirmed their commitment to achieving the permanent and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. They also reaffirmed that North Korea needs to abandon all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. President Trump and Prime Minister Abe underscored that the global maximum pressure campaign will continue until North Korea denuclearizes." 

April 18, 2018: The Washington Post reports that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in early April. President Trump affirmed the meeting took place in a tweet: "Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”

April 20, 2018: A telephone hotline is established between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first time since the division of the peninsula. The first call between the two leaders is expected before their April 27 summit. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declares that he will suspend nuclear and missile tests starting on April 21 and that he will shut down the Punggye-ri test site where the previous six nuclear tests were conducted.

April 27, 2018: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in meet in Panmunjom on the border of North and South Korea in the first high-level summit between Kim and Moon and the third ever meeting of North and South Korean leaders. Kim and Moon issue a joint declaration, including agreements to facilitate "groundbreaking advancement" in inter-Korean relations, "to make joint efforts to practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean peninsula," and to cooperate to "establish a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula."

May 8, 2018: Kim Jong Un meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the second time in two months, this time in Dalian, China. Chinese state media reports that Kim Jong Un says that North Korea hopes relevant parties can adopt step-by-step and synchronized measures to advance the process of political settlement and eventually achieve denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. 

President Trump announces that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un in preparation for the U.S.-North Korean summit.

May 9, 2018: North Korea releases three American detainees, Kim Dong Chul, Tony Kim, and Kim Hak Sog. 

May 15, 2018: North Korea cancels talks with South Korea scheduled for the next day and threatened to cancel the Trump-Kim summit, citing discontent with U.S.-South Korean joint military drills known as Max Thunder and indignation with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton's remarks suggesting that North Korean denuclearization follow the example of Libya

May 22, 2018: South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets with U.S. President Trump to discuss trade between the two countries and the upcoming U.S.-North Korean summit on June 12. 

May 23, 2018: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In response to a question, he states that the Trump administration's model for North Korean disarmament is "rapid denuclearization, total and complete that won't be extended over time."

May 24, 2018: North Korea reports that it destroyed its nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri, setting off explosions to destroy the north, west and south portals to tunnels that could have been used to test nuclear weapons. It is not clear if North Korea completely destroyed the long-abandoned east portal. No nuclear experts were granted access to verify the destruction of the test site. North Korea did transport several international journalists to observe the explosions from a distance. 

In a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Trump cancels the U.S.-North Korean summit scheduled for June 12 in response to "tremendous anger and hostility" displayed by North Korea in a statement the previous day. "If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call or write," Trump wrote.

May 25, 2018: In response to Trump's letter, Kim Kye Gwan, North Korean first minister of foreign affairs, states that North Korea "has the intent to sit with the U.S. side.. regardless of ways at any time."

May 26, 2018: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet unexpectedly for a second time in Panmunjom. The two sides agree to host high-level inter-Korean talks on June 1, to follow with talks between military authorities to reduce tensions and between the Red Cross to push forward scheduled family reunions, to accelerate the April 27 Panmunjom declaration and to ensure that the June 12 U.S.-North Korean summit still goes ahead. 

May 27, 2018: U.S. officials travel to North Korea to prepare for a summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.

May 31, 2018: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with North Korean General Kim Yong Chol in New York to discuss President Trump's expected summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "In my conversations with Chairman Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang and today with Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol, I have been very clear that President Trump and the United States objective is very consistent and well known: the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. President Trump has also made it clear that if Kim Jong-un denuclearizes, there is a brighter path for North Korea," Pompeo tells the press. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang. Lavrov expresses support for a phased lifting of sanctions on North Korea in return for steps toward denuclearization and Kim states he is "always ready" to negotiate with Russia. 

June 1, 2018: North Korean General Kim Yong Chol meets with President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo at the White House and delivers a letter to President Trump from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Following the meeting, President Trump announces that the summit with North Korea will take place as originally scheduled on June 12 in Singapore and that it will be the beginning of a "process."

June 12, 2018: U.S. President Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore at the Capella hotel in the first summit between the sitting leaders of the two countries. Trump and Kim sign a joint declaration agreeing to "establish new US-DPRK relations," "build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean peninsula" and recover POW/MIA remains. Kim also committed to "work toward complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula" and Trump committed to provide security guarantees for North Korea. 

In a press conference following the summit, Trump also announced other commitments he and Kim had agreed to which were not included in the joint statement, including the cancellation of U.S.-South Korean military exercises. 

June 19-20, 2018: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Kim's third visit to China since March, to discuss Kim's summit with Trump. 

July 5-7, 2018: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Pyongyang and meets with Kim Yong Chol "to continue consultations and implement the forward progress" from the June 12 U.S.-North Korean summit. Pompeo characterized the talks as "productive" and "good-faith negotiations" but the North Korean Foreign Ministry released a statement after the visit characterizing U.S. proposals as "unilateral and robber-like denuclearization demands," further claiming that they "go against the spirit of the North-U.S. summit meeting."

July 13, 2018: The Diplomat, in collaboration with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey reports that it has discovered the site of a secret North Korean uranium enrichment site, named Kangson by U.S. intelligence. The existence of a second North Korean clandestine uranium enrichment site was first publicly reported in a May 2018 Washington Post article. According to the Diplomat, a U.S. government source confirmed that the identified site corresponded to the one U.S. intelligence has named Kangson and has been monitoring for more than ten years.

July 20, 2018: China and Russia block a U.S. request that the UN Security Council committee monitoring North Korea's compliance with UN sanctions send a letter stating that North Korea is violating a quota on refined petroleum products. The quota was established by a December 2017 UN Security Council resolution.

July 25, 2018: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirms that North Korea is dismantling a missile launch facility and continues to produce fissile material in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

July 27, 2018: The remains of 55 American servicemen who died during the Korean War are flown out of North Korea to be returned to the United States. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to return the remains of American soldiers during the June 12 Singapore Summit.

August 15, 2018: In a speech commemorating South Korean National Liberation Day, President Moon Jae-in says that when he meets with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un in September, the two leaders will "take an audacious step to proceed toward the declaration of an end to the Korean War and the signing of a peace treaty as well as the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." He adds that "inter-Korean relations is the driving force behind denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Once peace and denuclearization have been established, Moon says that economic cooperation between the two Koreas, including an inter-Korean rail and joint economic zones, can be pursued "in earnest."

August 20, 2018: The International Atomic Energy Agency's annual report on the application of safeguards in North Korea states that the "continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear programme and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern."

August 23, 2018: Stephen Biegun, former vice president of international government affairs for the Ford Motor Company, is appointed as the State Department's special representative for North Korea. Biegun will "direct U.S. policy towards North Korea and lead... efforts to achieve President Trump's goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea." Pompeo also announces that he and Biegun will travel to North Korea the following week.

August 24, 2018: President Trump calls off Secretary of State Pompeo's scheduled trip to Pyongyang with new Special Representative Biegun, citing insufficient progress on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a tweet. Earlier that morning, Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's Workers' Party Central Committee, sends an angry letter to Pompeo, convincing him and Trump that the visit is not likely to succeed, according to Washington Post reporting.

September 9, 2018: North Korea holds a military parade on the 70th anniversary of its founding but does not display any long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, as it has in many recent parades. Li Zhanshu, a high-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party, watches the parade with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Li attends as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

September 14, 2018: North and South Korea open their first joint liaison office in Kaesong, establishing a new full-time person-to-person channel between the two countries.

September 18-20, 2018: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in meet for their third summit, this time in Pyongyang.

On September 19, the two leaders agree to the Pyongyang Joint Declaration, which includes agreements to expand the "cessation of military hostilities" between the two countries, advance economic, humanitarian and cultural cooperation and exchanges, pursue complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and for Kim to visit Seoul "at an early date." North Korea committed to dismantle the Dongchang-ri missile engine test site and launch platform under the observation of international experts and to take additional steps, like the dismantling of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, if the United States "takes corresponding measures in accordance with the spirit of the June 12 US-DPRK Joint Statement." 

An agreement on the "implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration in the Military Domain" is adopted as an annex to the Pyongyang Joint Declaration. The annex includes commitments for North and South Korea to establish no-fly zones along the border, halt military drills close to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two countries and dismantle several guard posts inside the DMZ.

September 24, 2018: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Moon briefs Trump on the Inter-Korean summit and delivers a message from Kim Jong Un.

September 26, 2018: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Pompeo accepts an invitation from Kim Jong Un to visit Pyongyang the following month.

September 27, 2018: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo chairs a UN Security Council foreign ministerial-level meeting on North Korea and nonproliferation. Pompeo and several other foreign ministers encourage the council to continue to implement sanctions on North Korea until complete denuclearization is achieved. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi argue that sanctions could be eased in light of increased diplomacy with North Korea.

September 29, 2018: North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho speaks at the UN General Assembly. Ri attributes the recent deadlock in negotiations to U.S. "coercive measures" which impede trust building. Without trust, Ri claims, North Korea will not disarm. He states that he has yet to see corresponding measures from the United States to match the steps that North Korea has taken towards disarmament.

October 7, 2018: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang. U.S. Special Representative Stephen Biegun and North Korean official Kim Yo Jong also participate in the meeting. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert states that Kim "invited inspectors to visit the Punggye Ri nuclear test site to confirm that it has been irreversibly dismantled." They also refined options for the location and date of the upcoming second summit between President Trump and Kim, according to the statement.

October 9, 2018: The vice foreign ministers of China, North Korea and Russia hold a trilateral meeting in Moscow, where the three parties release a joint statement reaffirming the will for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and calling for the UN Security Council to adjust sanctions on North Korea, in light of its steps for denuclearization. The statement also condemned "independent sanctions."

October 19, 2018: The United States and South Korea cancel the joint military exercises Vigilant Ace, which is scheduled for December. 

October 25, 2018: North and South Korea and the UN Command finish removing firearms and troops from the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom, as agreed to in the Sept. 19 Panmunjom declaration. 

October 31, 2018: The United States and South Korea agree to form a working group to enhance cooperation on a range of issues related to North Korea, including sanctions implementation and “inter-Korean cooperation that comply with the United Nations sanctions.”

November 2, 2018: Kwon Jong Gun, director of the Foreign Ministry's Institute for American Studies (IFAS) and director general of the Ministry's North American Affairs Department writes that North Korea may consider returning to its previous "byungjin" policy of simultaneously focusing on its nuclear program and the economy if the United States sticks to its current course. 

November 7, 2018: A meeting scheduled for the next day between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart is postponed. The Trump administration initially says the talks were postponed due to Pompeo’s schedule but after North Korea admits to canceling the meeting, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley says Nov. 8 Pyongyang was not ready for the meeting.

November 15, 2018: Vice President Mike Pence tells NBC that the United States will not require a complete list of nuclear weapons and missile sites from North Korea prior to a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, anticipated in 2019. Pence says "a verifiable plan" to disclose that information must be reached at the summit.

November 20, 2018: A U.S.-South Korean working group to discuss general issues related to North Korean nuclear negotiations holds its first meeting in Washington, D.C. The group, chaired by U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and South Korean Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon, discusses denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and the implementation of UN Security Council resolution.  

November 24, 2018: The UN Security Council issues a sanctions waiver to allow an Inter-Korean joint field study on connecting their railroads to go forward.

December 6, 2018: North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho travels to China for a three-day visit to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss their countries' relations, the Korean situation and other issues of mutual concern, and reportedly to discuss a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

December 26, 2018: Officials from North and South Korea hold a groundbreaking ceremony in Kaesong for an inter-Korean railroad project, one of the joint projects South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to in the April 2018 Panmunjom Declaration. 


January 1, 2019: Kim Jong Un delivers his annual New Years Address, stating that he is willing to meet U.S. President Donald Trump at "anytime" and committing "that we would neither make and test nuclear weapons any longer nor use and proliferate them," although it is unclear what Kim means by promising not to "make" nuclear weapons. 

January 7-9, 2019: Kim Jong Un travels to Beijing for his fourth summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. North Korean state news KCNA reports that Kim and Xi discussed the "denuclearization process" and that Xi accepted an invitation to visit North Korea "at a convenient time."

January 9, 2019: U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun reportedly meets with U.S. and international NGO representatives, the United Nations and U.S. government department representatives to discuss the revised U.S. position on humanitarian aid to North Korea to better facilitate aid to the country. Biegun announced the United States was reviewing its humanitarian aid policy to North Korea on Dec. 19, 2018.

January 18, 2019: Top North Korean diplomat Kim Yong Chol travels to Washington, D.C. and meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. President Donald Trump. Kim Yong Chol meets with Trump for over 90 minutes. Following the meeting, the White House announces that the second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place at the end of February at a place to be announced at a later date.

January 19-21, 2019: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and South Korean negotiator Lee Do-hoon meet outside Stockholm to discuss "confidence building, economic development and long-term engagement" on the Korean peninsula.

January 31, 2019: U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun delivers remarks to Stanford University. Biegun reaffirms that the administration is prepared to move step-by-step towards complete denuclearization in parallel with working towards peace in Korea and that it is willing to defer a complete declaration of North Korea's nuclear assets. 

February 27-28, 2019: U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in Hanoi, Vietnam for their second summit. The talks end without a signed agreement. In a U.S. press conference following the summit, Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo state that the two sides had made progress but that North Korea had called for sanctions to be lifted "in their entirety" in exchange for partial denuclearization which the United States rejected. A senior State Department official tells press that Trump had encouraged Kim to "go all in." North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho later delivers a statement at a press conference stating that North Korea had requested the partial removal of sanctions in exchange for a permanent halt of nuclear and ballistic missile testing and the full and verifiable dismantment of the facilities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex. The North Korean state newspaper Pyongyang Times welcomes the "constructive and candid exchange of opinions" at the summit.

March 3, 2019: South Korea and the United States decide to terminate the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military drills.  

March 4, 2019: IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano reports to the IAEA Board of Governors that the agency "has not observed any indications of the operation of the 5MW(e) reactor since early December 2018."

March 5, 2019: The UN Panel of Experts reports that North Korea continues to evade sanctions.

March 22, 2019: U.S. President Donald Trump tweets that he ordered the removal of additional large-scale sanctions on North Korea. It is not clear to which sanctions he is referring. The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions the previous day on two Chinese shipping companies it alleges helped North Korea with sanctions evasion. 

March 29, 2019: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang in Washington, D.C. to discuss moving forward after the U.S.-North Korean summit.

April 10-11, 2019: South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets with U.S. President Trump in Washington, D.C. Trump reiterates his preference for a “big deal” with North Korea to “get rid of the nuclear weapons” in comments to press, but keeps the door open for “various small deals that could happen.” Trump also says that he would support joint economic projects between the two Koreas at the right time, but that now is not that time and that sanctions would “remain in place” until denuclearization is complete.

April 12, 2019: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un tells the Supreme People’s Assembly that he is willing to try “one more time,” if Washington proposes a third summit. However, the United States has to have the “right stance” and “methodology,” Kim says. He calls for the United States to “lay down unilateral requirements and seek constructive solutions.”

April 24-25, 2019: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Vladivostock, Russia and agree to forge closer ties.

May 4, 2019: North Korea tests a salvo of rockets and a short-range ballistic missile that has not been tested before. 

May 9, 2019: North Korea test fires two short-range ballistic missiles, including the new missile tested May 4. 

The United States announces that it seized a North Korean vessel, the Wise Honest, for sanctions evasion. The vessel was detained in 2018. North Korea describes the seizure as a "complete denial" of the Singapore summit statement. 

May 10, 2019: U.S. President Donald Trump says he does not consider North Korea's missile tests a "breach of trust" by Kim Jong Un or a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. 

U.S. Special Representative on North Korea Stephen Biegun meets with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and presides over a U.S.-South Korean working group meeting in Seoul.  

June 11, 2019: U.S. President Donald Trump says he received another "beautiful letter" from North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. Trump says something "will happen very soon that's going to be very positive." 

June 19, 2019: U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun gives a speech at the Atlantic Council stating that the United States will continue to pursue an agreement on the end state of negotiations before taking incremental steps in tandem with North Korea. Biegun also states that the North Korean negotiating team must be empowered to "negotiate on all the issues" to make progress. 

June 20-21, 2019: Chinese President Xi Jinping travels to Pyongyang for the first time. During his summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Xi emphasizes the importance of strengthening cooperation between the two countries and praises North Korea's efforts to promote denuclearization. 

June 21, 2019: The Trump administration notifies Congress it is extending sanctions in several executive orders set to expire on June 26 beacuse of the "existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material" and North Korean policies that pose a threat to U.S. national security. 

June 23, 2019: North Korean media reports that Kim Jong Un received a letter from U.S. President Donald Trump that contains "excellent content." The letter is dated June 12. 

June 26, 2019: In an interview, South Korean President Moon Jae-in urges the United States and North Korea to take reciprocal steps to advance negotiations and suggests that inter-Korean economic projects could be “utilized as corresponding measures to induce the North to take denuclearization steps.” Moon says if North Korea dismantled the Yongbyon nuclear complex, “including the plutonium reprocessing facilities and the uranium enrichment facilities,” then it “would be possible to say that denuclearization of North Korea has entered an irreversible stage.” Substantive progress could “help the international community seek a partial or gradual easing of the U.N. Security Council sanctions,” he says. 

June 28, 2019: U.S. President Donald Trump tweets that he will visit the DMZ June 30 and says North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un should meet him there. 

June 30, 2019: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the DMZ and becomes the first sitting U.S. President to set foot in North Korea. The leaders agree to resume negotiations and say working level talks will restart within the next several weeks. 

July 25, 2019: North Korea tests two short-range ballistic missiles believed to be the KN-23. North Korea reports that the tests are successful.

August 6, 2019: North Korea condemns the joint United States and South Korean joint military exercise, 19-2 Dong Maeng, which began on August 5. North Korea’s official statement outlines that “constructive dialogue cannot be expected at a time when a simulated war practice targeted at the dialogue partner is being conducted.”

North Korea tests two short-range ballistic missiles believed to be KN-23 designs, similar to those tested in late July. North Korea reports that the tests are successful.

August 10, 2019: North Korea test fires two short-range missiles of unknown design. Experts assess that the missile is a single-stage solid-fueled “quasi-ballistic” missile considered to be more advanced than the KN-23 model.

August 16, 2019: North Korea test launches two short-range projectiles. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed the launch and reported a “perfect result.”

August 24, 2019: North Korea successfully tests two short-range ballistic missiles

August 27, 2019: The United Kingdom, France, and Germany issue a United Nations Security Council statementcondemning North Korea’s ballistic missile launches as provocations. Officials from the three European countries urge North Korean leaders to engage in productive negotiations with the United States.

September 9, 2019: North Korea’s First Vice Minister Choe Son Hui issues a statement suggesting that North Korea is interested in continuing working-level talks with the United States, provided that the United States offers “a proposal geared to the interests of the DPRK and U.S.”

September 10, 2019: North Korea launches two missiles, testing a 600m multiple rocket launcher system (MLRS), according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. Images released by North Korea suggests a third missile was launched.

September 19, 2019: U.S. President Donald Trump says he is open to a “new method” for talks with North Korea.

September 20, 2019: North Korea’s new chief negotiator, Ambassador Kim Myong Gil, releases a statement supporting future diplomacy with the United States and adds that he “welcome[s] President Trump’s wise political decision to approach the DPRK-U.S. relations from a more practical point of view.”

September 30, 2019: North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, delivers a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and proposes a return to working-level talks with the United States.

October 1, 2019: Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, issues a statement announcing that North Korea and the United States will have “preliminary contact” on Oct. 4, 2019, and will hold a working-level meeting on Oct. 5. Choe Son Hui does not comment on which U.S. and North Korean officials will be in attendance or where the meeting will be held.

October 2, 2019: North Korea tests its new submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Pukkuksong-3. The missile flies 450km and marks North Korea’s first SLBM test since August 2016.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Department of State calls on North Korea to “refrain from provocations, abide by their obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, and remain engaged in substantive and sustained negotiations and to do their part to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and achieve denuclearization.”

North Korea appoints Jo Chol Su as Director of the North American Department of the DPRK Foreign Ministry, replacing Kwon Jong Gun just ahead of renewed working-level talks with the United States.

October 4-5, 2019: The United States and North Korea convene for working-level negotiations in Stockholm, Sweden. Talks fall apart on Oct. 5 after both sides fail to reach a consensus.

The U.S. State Department issues a statement relaying the Trump Administration’s interest in reconvening for talks in two weeks’ time, responding to a proposal by Swedish hosts.

North Korean chief negotiator Kim Myong Gil accuses the United States of having an “outdated stance and attitude” and rejects the Swedish invitation.

October 7, 2019: North Korean chief negotiator Kim Myong Gil threatens to resume nuclear and long-range ballistic missile testing, saying “whether our discontinuation of nuclear and ICBM test fire will resume or not totally depends on the US attitude.”

October 8, 2019: The United Nations Security Council meets to discuss North Korea’s October 2 submarine-launched ballistic missile test. European members of the Security Council advise North Korea “to take concrete steps with a view to abandoning all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.”

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Beigun, Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanic Affairs Bureau Shigeki Takizaki, and South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon meet in Washington, D.C. to discuss the failed October U.S.-North Korea talks.

October 24, 2019: Kim Kye Gwan, an Advisor to North Korea's Foreign Ministry, issues a statement expressing Pyongyang's interest in diplomacy with the United States, saying trust between U.S. President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un is "still maintained," and, "there is a will, there is a way."
October 27, 2019: Chairman of North Korea's Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, Kim Yong Chol, issues a statement condemning U.S. policy toward North Korea and warning that "there can be the exchange of fire any moment," reiterating North Korea's end of year deadline for progress on U.S.-North Korea talks.

November 5, 2019: A spokesperson for North Korea's Foreign Ministry issues a statement condemning the U.S. "hostile policy" toward North Korea after the United States lists North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. "The U.S. persistently tries to brand the DPRK as a 'state sponsor of terrorism' at a sensitive time when DPRK-U.S. dialogue is at a stalemate," the Spokesperson says, warning that "the channel of dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. is more and more narrowing due to such attitude and stand of the U.S."

November 7, 2019: Ambassador of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Kwon Jong Gun, issues a statement condemning a joint U.S.-South Korea aerial exercise to be held in December 2019. Kwon refers to the exercise as “U.S. reckless military frenzy,” and warns that the “extremely provocative and dangerous” drill jeopardizes future U.S.-North Korea dialogue.

November 13, 2019: A spokesperson for North Korea’s State Affairs Commission releases a statement condemning the proposed joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise, The Combined Flying Training Event, warning “the U.S. had better behave itself with prudence at a sensitive time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula could go back to the starting point due to the joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea, the biggest factor of the repeating vicious circle of the DPRK-U.S. relations.”

Speaking with reporters, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper shares the possibility of adjusting the upcoming U.S.-South Korea military training exercise to promote diplomacy with North Korea and says “we have to be open to all those things that empower and enable our diplomats.”

November 14, 2019: Chief North Korean negotiator and ambassador to the Foreign Ministry, Kim Myong Gil, releases a statement re-affirming Pyongyang’s end-of-year deadline for negotiations and criticizing U.S. efforts to promote diplomacy with “matters of secondary importance.” Kim Myong Gil reports that “if the negotiated solution of issues is possible, we are ready to meet with the U.S. at any place and any time.”

Responding to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s announcement of an adjustment to the scheduled Combined Flying Training Event, Kim Yong Chol, chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, issues a statement lauding the announcement “as part of positive efforts of the U.S. side to preserve the motive force of the DPRK-U.S. negotiations.” Kim Yong Chol warns that if the exercise is not cancelled, North Korea “will be compelled to answer with shocking punishment that would be difficult for the U.S. to cope with.”

November 17, 2019: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper formally announces the postponement of the U.S.-South Korea Combined Flying Training Event, citing an “act of goodwill” toward North Korea to “keep the door open.” According to Esper, “this is a good-faith effort by the United States and the Republic of Korea to enable peace” and “to facilitate a political agreement – a deal, if you will ­– that leads to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

U.S. President Donald Trump tweets, addressing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “I am the only one who can get you where you have to be. You should act quickly, get the deal done. See you soon!”

November 18, 2019: Chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, Kim Yong Chol, responds to the postponement of the Combined Flying Training Event, saying “the suspension of the drill does not mean ensuring peace and security on the Korean peninsula and is not helpful to the diplomatic efforts for the settlement of issues.” Reiterating North Korea’s end-of-year deadline for negotiations, Kim Yong Chol states “it will be possible to consult the denuclearization only when confidence-building between the DPRK and the U.S. goes first and all the threats to the security and development of the DPRK are removed.”

Kim Kye Gwan, advisor to North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, releases a statement condemning U.S. efforts to promote diplomacy with North Korea. “The U.S. only seeks to earn time, pretending it has made progress in settling the issue of the Korean peninsula,” Kim Kye Gwan says, adding that “if the U.S. truly wants to keep on dialogue with the DPRK, it had better make a bold decision to drop its hostile policy towards the DPRK.”

November 19, 2019: Kim Myong Gil, ambassador of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and chief negotiator, reports that “the DPRK-U.S. dialogue is impossible unless the U.S. makes a bold decision to drop the hostile policy towards the DPRK,” and criticizes U.S. efforts to mediate the conflict through Sweden. “It is not for lack of communication channel or mediator that the DPRK-U.S. negotiations have not yet been held,” Kim Myong Gil says, concluding that “the U.S. should no longer pretend it is interested in the DPRK-U.S. dialogue, having the third country stand for it.”

November 29, 2019: North Korea tests a Super-large Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

December 3, 2019: North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister for U.S. Affairs, Ri Thae Song, releases a statement repeating North Korea’s year-end deadline for negotiations with the United States. “The DPRK has done everything transparently and openly so far. It feels no need to hide what it will do from now on and therefore, reminds the U.S. once again that the year-end time limit comes nearer,” Ri Thae Song says, adding that “what is left to be done now is the U.S. option and it is entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get.”

At a NATO leaders’ meeting in London, U.S. President Donald Trump, discussing the stalemate of negotiations with North Korea, says “we are more powerful, militarily, than we ever have been… hopefully, we don’t have to use it, but if we do, we’ll use it.” Referring to North Korea’s agreement to denuclearize, Trump adds that “I hope [Kim Jong Un] lives up to the agreement, but we’re going to find out.”

December 5, 2019: Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, issues a statement condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s provocative language at the NATO Leaders’ Meeting in London Dec. 3. “It would be fortunate if the utterances of the use of military force and the title of figurative style made by President Trump were a careless verbal lapse, but matter becomes different if they were a planned provocation that deliberately targeted us,” Choe Son Hui says, and adds that “we will watch whether the phrase i.e. use of military force and title of figurative style emerge again.”

December 9, 2019: Chairman of North Korea’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, Kim Yong Chol, issues a statementcondemning U.S. President Trump’s “inappropriate and highly risky words,” and cautions “Trump has too many things that he does not know about the DPRK. We have nothing more to lose.”

Ri Su Yong, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, issues a statement directed at U.S. President Donald Trump. “Trump might be in great jitters but he had better accept the status quo that he has sowed, so he should reap, and think twice if he does not want to see bigger catastrophic consequences,” Ri Su Yong says.

December 12, 2019: The spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issues a statement condemning Washington’s convening of a Dec. 11 United Nations Security Council meeting on North Korea’s escalatory provocations. “By holding the meeting, the U.S. did a foolish thing which will boomerang on it, and decisively helped us make a definite decision,” the spokesman says.

December 14, 2019: The Korean Central News Agency reports that North Korea successfully conducted a “crucial” test at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, and that the findings from the test would contribute to “bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent of [North Korea]”. North Korea did not provide details on the test, but satellite imagery suggests that Pyongyang tested a rocket motor.


January 1, 2020: The Korean Central News Agency releases a report on the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea, chaired by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. At the meeting, which lasted four days, Kim announced that Pyongyang would no longer be “unilaterally bound” to any former concessions made, including the long-range missile and nuclear test moratorium, and that North Korea would be “chilling [its] efforts for worldwide nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.” Kim also announced that North Korea would pursue a “new strategic weapon.”

January 7, 2020: South Korean President Moon Jae-in says in his New Year’s Address that “the need to find realistic ways to further advance inter-Korean cooperation has become all the more urgent” given the stalemate in U.S.-North Korean talks and proposes further meetings between Pyongyang and Seoul. He emphasizes the benefits of reconnecting inter-Korean railways and roads.

January 10, 2020: South Korea’s national security advisor Chung Eui-Yong reports that he delivered a birthday message from U.S. President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

January 11, 2020: Kim Kye Gwan, an advisor to North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, issues a statement responding to U.S. President Trump’s birthday message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Kim Kye Gwan says that while relations between Kim and Trump “are not bad,” North Korea and the United States will not return to dialogue until North Korea’s demands are met. The advisor condemns U.S. unilateral pressure and confirms that North Korea “proposed exchanging a core nuclear facility of the country for the lift of some UN sanctions” in Hanoi, in February 2019.

January 12, 2020: Robert O’Brien, White House National Security Advisor, tells Axios that the Trump Administration has invited North Korea through “various channels” to resume talks.

January 16, 2020: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun tells Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng that the United States remains committed to negotiations with North Korea on "all pillars of the Singapore Joint Statement." Biegun urges Yucheng to "fully implement U.N. Security Sanctions" imposed on North Korea.

January 21, 2020: At the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, Ju Yong Chol, a counselor at North Korea’s UN Mission, repeats Pyongyang’s threat to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests. Ju further warns “if the U.S. persists such hostile policy towards the DPRK there will never be the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Pyongyang appoints Kim Jong Gwan, a former army lieutenant general, as its new defense minister.

January 23, 2020: Ri Son Gwon, a retired army colonel, is named North Korea’s new foreign minister.

January 24, 2020: Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper warns that North Korea is “trying to build a long-range ballistic missile with the ability to carry a nuclear warhead,” and notes that the United States is “watching very closely.” Esper says that “at this point we need to get back to the negotiating table and really figure out the best way foreword to denuclearize the peninsula.”

February 24, 2020: South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha, speaking at the UN Conference on Disarmament, calls for the resumption of U.S.-North Korean talks. “A speedy resumption of the U.S.-DPRK negotiations is critical so that all stakeholders maintain and build upon the hard-won momentum for dialogue. We stand ready to engage with the North in a way that facilitates and accelerates the U.S.-DPRK dialogue,” Kang says.

February 29, 2020: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversees a drill by the Korean People’s Army. According to a statement released the next day by the Korean Central News Agency, “the purpose of the drill was to judge the mobility and fire power strike ability of the defence units on the front and in the eastern area.”

March 1, 2020: North Korea launches two short-range projectiles, believed to be the KN-25, in its first test launch of 2020.

March 5, 2020: Following a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, five council members, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, release a joint statement criticizing North Korea’s March 1 launch.

March 7, 2020: A spokesperson for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, via the Korean Central News Agency, justifies the Mar. 1 projectile launch as “routine drills of our army” and condemns the Security Council members’ joint statement.

March 9, 2020: North Korea conducts a test launch of three projectiles, South Korea’s Defense Ministry reports. According to a South Korean official, North Korea’s repeated launches could be part of “joint strike drills that include multiple types of multiple rocket launchers.”

The test is assumed to be of the KN-25, marking the sixth recorded test of the missile.

March 21, 2020: North Korea tests two short-range ballistic missiles, believed to be the KN-24.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversees the tests and calls them “remarkably great,” according to the Korean Central News Agency.

March 22, 2020: The Korean Central News Agency releases a statement on the Mar. 21 test, saying, “the fire was aimed at reconfirming and showing to the [Korean People’s Army] commanding officers the tactical characters and power of a new weapon system to be delivered to KPA systems.”

Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister and the first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea issues a statement via the Korean Central News Agency acknowledging a letter to Kim from U.S. President Trump. While Trump “wished the family of the chairman and our people wellbeing,” Kim Yo Jong warns that “the personal letter between the two leaders” is not sufficient to re-start dialogue and bilateral negotiations.

March 24-45, 2020: At a teleconference of G7 world leaders, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo asks other countries to “stay committed to applying diplomatic and economic pressure over [North Korea’s] illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

March 30, 2020: North Korea launches two short-range ballistic missiles, believed to be the KN-25, marking its fourth missile test of the year.

March 31, 2020: North Korea’s senior negotiator with the United States issues a statement via the state-run Korean Central News Agency expressing that Pyongyang is disinterested in negotiations with Washington, in response to Pompeo’s remarks at the G7 teleconference. “We will go our own way. We do not want the U.S. to bother us. If the U.S. bothers us, it will be hurt,” the statement reads.

April 13, 2020: The UN Security Council finalizes its annual Panel of Experts report on North Korea, indicating that Pyongyang continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs throughout 2019, in violation of a slew of UN Security Council resolutions. The report details that North Korea illicitly imported and exported sanctioned items and executed a series of cyberattacks against global banks to dodge financial sanctions.

April 14, 2020: North Korea tests a series of short-range missiles. According to preliminary assessments by South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the test marks North Korea's first launch of a cruise missile in nearly three years.

April 18, 2020: U.S. President Donald Trump tells reporters he received a “nice note” from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

April 19, 2020: An official from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issues a statement via the Korean Central News Agency expressing that “there was no letter addressed recently to the U.S. president by the supreme leader of the DPRK.” The unnamed official says that the Foreign Ministry will “look into the matter to see if the U.S. leadership seeks anything in feeding the ungrounded story into the media.”

May 7, 2020: South Korean news outlets announce the first test of the new Hyunmoo-4 missile which is assessed to be capable of carrying a two-ton payload, which is greater than the country’s other ballistic missiles. The launches occurred in March, with one projectile reportedly misfiring. The South Korean government does not comment on nor confirm the test.

May 20, 2020: Russian Ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, suggests in an interview that Pyongyang will postpone dialogue with Washington until after the November 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. According to Matsegora, North Korea has deemed negotiations with the United States “pointless for now.”

May 24, 2020: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads a meeting of high-ranking military officials, and announces “new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country,“ among other things.

June 4, 2020: Kim Yo Jong, who heads the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea, responds to reports of scattered “anti-DPRK leaflets” along the border between North Korea and South Korea. Blaming South Korean authorities for conniving the act, Kim says, “I would like to ask the south Korean authorities if they are ready to take care of the consequences of evil conduct done by the rubbish-like mongrel dogs who took no scruple to slander us while faulting the ‘nuclear issue’ in the meanest way at the most untimely time.”

June 8, 2020: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chairs a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea.

Pyongyang announces via the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) its plans to cut all communication lines with Seoul. According to the statement, “the South Korean authorities connived at the hostile acts against the DPRK… This has driven the inter-Korean relations into catastrophe.”

June 11, 2020: Kwon Jong Gun, who leads the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s department of U.S. affairs, warns the United States against interfering in worsening North-South relations.

June 12, 2020: North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon, on the two-year anniversary of the U.S.-North Korea Singapore Summit, condemns Washington for failing to pursue constructive diplomacy with Pyongyang. According to Ri, “the U.S. professes to be an advocate for improved relations with the DPRK, but in fact, is hell-bent on only exacerbating the situation.” “Never again will we provide the U.S. chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns,” Ri says.

June 13, 2020: The director of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s department of U.S. affairs, Kwon Jong Gun, releases a statement denouncing South Korean efforts to promote renewed diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang. “I still remember that exactly one year ago, we advised them to stop fooling around in such a nasty manner and immediately drop out of the issue of the DPRK-U.S. relations,” he says, adding that “it is not because there is not a mediator that the DPRK-U.S. dialogue has gone away and the denuclearization been blown off.”

The director of the United Front Department of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea, Jang Kum Chol, issues a statement on the scattering of anti-North Korea leaflets at the border in early June and the decline of inter-Korean relations. “From now, time will be, indeed, regretful and painful for the south Korean authorities,” Jang concludes.

June 17, 2020: North Korea demolishes the North-South inter-Korean liaison office located in Kaesong, North Korea. A statement published by the Korean Central News Agency clarifies the move is “the latest punishment measure conducted in the wake of cutting off all the communication liaison lines between the north and south.”

A spokesman for the General Staff of North Korea’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) announces tentative plans to enhance North Korea’s military presence near its border with South Korea.

June 22, 2020: Pyongyang also announces plans for a large-scale military parade in October, marking the 75th anniversary of the Worker’s Party of Korea.

June 24, 2020: A readout of a June 23 meeting of North Korea’s military officials is published by the Korean Central News Agency, noting that “the WPK Central Military Commission took stock of the prevailing situation and suspended military action plans against the south.”

July 4, 2020: North Korean first vice-minister of foreign affairs, Choe Son Hui, issues a statement condemning the prospect of continued U.S.-North Korea talks. "The U.S. is mistaken if it thinks things like negotiations would still work on us," she says, adding "we do not feel any need to sit face to face with the U.S., as it does not consider the DPRK-U.S. dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling its political crisis."

July 7-10, 2020: Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun travels to Seoul and Tokyo to "further strengthen coordination on the final, fully verified denuclearization" of North Korea, according to a State Department press release.

In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the Director-General of the North Korean foreign ministry's department of U.S. affairs retorts "explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with the U.S."

July 7, 2020: U.S. President Donald Trump says in an interview with Voice of America that he understands that North Korea wants to continue negotiations and that “I would do it if I thought it was going to be helpful.”

July 10, 2020: Kim Yo Jong, head of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea, says that North Korea “should not accept an offer of the summit talks this year, no matter how badly the U.S. wants it.” She said that denuclearization “is not possible at this point in time” and “can be realized only when there are major changes made on the other side.”

October 10, 2020: As the country’s nuclear forces roll by during a parade commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, general secretary Kim Jong Un says, “Our war deterrence will never be abused or used preemptively, which will contribute to protecting the sovereignty and survival of the country and pursuing regional peace.” 

December 11, 2020: In a joint statement calling for renewed attention on human rights violations in North Korea, an eight-country coalition including the United States criticizes Pyongyang for “[diverting] resources away from its people to its illicit ballistic missile and nuclear programs.” The statement calls for North Korea to abandon its WMD programs “in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.”

January 13, 2021: In a first-of-its-kind party congress since 2016, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reads from a laundry list of the country’s newest armaments: a nuclear-powered submarine, intercontinental ballistic missiles, reconnaissance satellites, “multi-warhead” and “hypersonic gliding-flight” missiles, and “ultramodern tactical nuclear weapons.” In an effort to counter “our foremost principal enemy,” the United States, Kim’s party passes a resolution to “further strengthen our nuclear deterrence,” according to The New York Times. 

February 8, 2021: A confidential U.N. report on North Korea’s nuclear activities seen by Reuters indicates the country funded its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in 2020 with money stolen during cyberattacks. An unnamed third country referenced in the report says tunnels destroyed at Punggye-ri, North Korea’s main nuclear site, in 2018 are still operational and that Iran and North Korea are helping one another develop long-range missiles. The report’s unidentified source also says it is “highly likely” that a nuclear warhead could be fused onto North Korean ballistic missiles, though whether these missiles could withstand atmospheric heat during reentry is “uncertain.”

March 25, 2021: North Korea launches variants of its KN-23 short-range ballistic missile in a test that the Stimson Center’s 38 North project later calls a political move designed to show the Biden administration that Pyongyang “should not be taken for granted.”

April 16, 2021: Marking the first visit by a foreign leader to the new White House, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meet to discuss, among other things, the “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

April 28, 2021: In his first address to a joint session of Congress as president, Joe Biden calls Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs “a serious threat to America’s security and world security.” “We will be working closely with our allies to address the threats posed by both of these countries through diplomacy and stern deterrence,” he says.

April 30, 2021: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tells reporters the Biden administration seeks the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula through a “calibrated, practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy.” It’s the end of a months-long review of U.S. policy toward North Korea and a departure from Obama-era “strategic patience” and Trumpian intent for “a grand bargain.”

May 2, 2021: Unhappy with the Biden administration’s newly outlined policy for the peninsula, Pyongyang accuses the United States of gearing up for “an all-out showdown” — one that North Korea will match, an unnamed foreign ministry official tells state media. A separate statement warns Washington faces a “crisis beyond control.”

May 10, 2021: South Korean leader Moon Jae-in says it is “time to take action” on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula as diplomacy continues to stall. “I will consider the remaining one year of my term to be the last opportunity to move from an incomplete peace toward one that is irreversible,” Moon says in an address as he enters the final year of his presidency.

May 21, 2021: In a joint statement released after their summit, U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in reaffirm that they will pursue “diplomacy and dialogue” in addressing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, with the White House also “[underscoring] the fundamental importance of U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral cooperation for addressing the DPRK.”

Standing alongside Moon, Biden announces career diplomat Sung Kim will be his envoy to North Korea. With experience as the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia and the Obama administration’s point person for six-party disarmament talks with Pyongyang, Kim will help marshal U.S. efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, according to Biden. 

June 17, 2021: During a Workers’ Party meeting weeks after the Biden administration released its policy plans for the peninsula, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his country should prepare for “both dialogue and confrontation, especially to get fully prepared for confrontation,” with the United States.

July 27, 2021: Seoul and Pyongyang restore a hotline untouched since June 2020 when relations between the two countries plummeted in the wake of Kim Jong Un’s failed summit over a year earlier with U.S. President Donald Trump.  

August 10, 2021: Pyongyang again ignores calls on an inter-Korean hotline in protest of upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills, dropping an important mechanism meant to soothe tensions on the peninsula.

August 27, 2021: An International Atomic Energy Agency report indicates North Korea’s main nuclear reactor has been restarted. The Yongbyon facility, believed to produce plutonium, has shown signs since as early as February 2021 of being operational, with the IAEA observing a new light water reactor under construction, an existing reactor discharging cooling water over the course of a month and a waste treatment plant operating long enough to potentially reprocess “a complete core of irradiated fuel.” 

September 9, 2021: A pared-down, middle-of-the-night military parade is held in Pyongyang to mark the country’s 73rd birthday. 

September 13, 2021: North Korean state media reports a “strategic weapon of great significance” — a new, long-range cruise missile potentially capable of delivering a nuclear payload to Japan — has been tested

September 15, 2021: Two days after unveiling its newest cruise missile, North Korea lobs two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan in a test Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga calls “outrageous.” It is the first time North Korea fires a missile from a train. The launch coincides with a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Seoul to discuss stalled arms control talks with Pyongyang and a separate South Korean test of its first submarine-launched ballistic missile.

September 21, 2021: Promising “relentless diplomacy” during his first address to the United Nations as U.S. president, Joe Biden says his administration will look for a diplomatic solution to North Korea’s nuclear program. Later, South Korean President Moon Jae-in asks for a formal end to the Korean War, a move he believes will encourage Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. 

September 24, 2021: “What needs to be dropped is the double-dealing attitudes, illogical prejudice, bad habits and hostile stand of justifying their own acts while faulting our just exercise of the right to self-defence,” senior North Korean official Kim Yo Jong, responding to the South Korean leader’s Sept. 21 comments at the United Nations, tells state media. 

September 26, 2021: Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a senior party figure, signals Pyongyang’s willingness to talk peace with Seoul in comments to state media outlet KCNA. “I think that only when impartiality and the attitude of respecting each other are maintained, can there be smooth understanding between the north and the south,” she says, explaining that North Koreans share an “irresistibly strong” desire to end the Korean War.

September 27, 2021: Pyongyang’s envoy to the United Nations tells the body his country has a “righteous right” to develop its missile arsenal shortly after North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the eastern Sea of Japan. 

September 28, 2021: North Korea tests its first hypersonic missile, the Hwasong-8, a “strategic weapon” that state media says successfully demonstrates the country’s development of hypersonic-glide technology.

Bonnie Jenkins, the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control and international security, tells Reuters the United States is “promoting a diplomatic solution” to Pyongyang’s recent spate of missile tests. “We still want to have an open door to diplomacy with North Korea,” she says. “So we are hoping that in addition to the tests, that they will also say ‘let’s have some conversations again.’”

October 20, 2021: North Korean state media releases photos of what it calls a “new type” of submarine-launched ballistic missile tested off the country’s east coast, which the U.N. Security Council discusses in an emergency closed-door meeting.

January 5, 2022: North Korea launches its second-ever hypersonic missile in a test with “strategic significance in that they hasten a task for modernizing strategic armed force of the state,” according to state media.

January 10, 2022: Ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting called to discuss Pyongyang’s hypersonic test, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and representatives from France, Ireland, Albania, Japan and the United Kingdom condemn North Korea’s “destabilizing actions.” “The DPRK’s continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs is a threat to international peace and security,” a joint statement reads.

January 11, 2022: In a move meant to bolster his country’s “war deterrent,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversees the test of another hypersonic missile. State media later reports the test demonstrated “glide jump flight” and “corkscrew maneuvering.”

January 12, 2022: After failing to pass new sanctions on Pyongyang during a U.N. Security Council meeting two days earlier, the United States decides itself to sanction six North Koreans, one Russian and a Russian company linked to North Korea’s nuclear program.

January 14, 2022: The North Korean foreign ministry condemns recent U.S. sanctions on individuals tied to its nuclear program, saying Washington has “intentionally [escalated] the situation” and warning the decision deserved a “stronger and clear reaction.”

North Korea tests two short-range ballistic missiles, firing them from a train, according to state media. 

January 17, 2022: North Korean state media claims two tactical guided missiles flew 236 miles from an airport in Pyongyang in the country’s latest weapons test. 

January 19, 2022: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reconsiders steps previously taken to cool tensions with the United States, telling his ministers during a Politburo meeting that Washington’s “hostile moves” warrant a reexamination of North Korea’s military posture — presumably referring to the country’s moratorium on nuclear and ICBM testing.

January 20, 2022: In an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting convened in response to Pyongyang’s recent missile tests, China and Russia block the body from sanctioning five North Korean officials. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, calls any opposition to sanctions a “black check” for North Korea.

January 25, 2022: South Korea’s military reports North Korea launched two long-range cruise missiles off its coast. Later, Pyongyang confirms the launch, saying its missiles flew more than 1,100 miles before hitting an island in the Sea of Japan. 

January 27, 2022: North Korea launches two short-range ballistic missiles. The Stimson Center’s 38 North project says these are the “first known launches” since 2019 of the KN-23 SRBM — a nuclear-capable missile — from a mobile platform.

January 30, 2022: North Korea tests an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 ballistic missile. The test violates a longstanding U.N. ban on such tests: In a statement, U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq says the body “urges the DPRK to desist from taking any further counter-productive actions and calls for all parties to seek a peaceful diplomatic solution.”

February 1, 2022: The United States asks the 15-country U.N. Security Council to meet following North Korea’s recent test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile Washington claims can reach Guam. 

Coverage will be continued in Arms Control Today.

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