Policy Area: Missiles

Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat Through 2015
(Unclassified Summary) National Intelligence Council, December 2001.

North Korea has hundreds of Scuds and No Dong missiles and continues to develop the longer range Taepo Dong-2, which will enable the North to target the United States. In May 2001, however, Kim Chong- il unilaterally extended the North’s voluntary flight-test moratorium—in effect since 1999—until 2003, provided negotiations with the United States proceeded.

Ballistic Missile Programs

Taepo Dong-2. The multiple-stage Taepo Dong-2—capable of reaching parts of the United States with a nuclear weapon-sized payload—may be ready for flight-testing. The North probably also is working on improvements to its current design. The Taepo Dong-2 in a two-stage ballistic missile configuration could deliver a several-hundred-kg payload up to 10,000 km—sufficient to strike Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the continental United States. If the North uses a third stage similar to the one used on the Taepo Dong-1 in 1998 in a ballistic missile configuration, then the Taepo Dong-2 could deliver a several-hundred-kg payload up to 15,000 km—sufficient to strike all of North America. A Taepo Dong-2 flight test probably would be conducted as an SLV with a third stage to place a small payload into the same orbit the North Koreans tried to achieve in 1998.

No Dong. The 1,300-km-range No Dong remains the longest-range ballistic missile North Korea has deployed.

WMD Payload Options

The Intelligence Community judged in the mid-1990s that North Korea had produced one, possibly two, nuclear weapons, although the North has frozen plutonium production activities at Yongbyon in accordance with the Agreed Framework of 1994. North Korea also has chemical and biological weapons programs.

Foreign Assistance

North Korea is nearly self-sufficient in developing and producing ballistic missiles and has demonstrated a willingness to sell complete systems and components that have enabled other states to acquire longer range capabilities earlier than would otherwise have

Read the full report.

Return to Top

nautilus home page nautilus home page nautilus DPRK Briefing book page