Kim Jong Un and the Bomb
Survival and Deterrence in North Korea
The extraordinary story of how a poor, insecure country became a nuclear power—and why we will have to live with it.
In 2017, North Korea shocked the world twice: by conducting the first test flight of a missile capable of ranging the US, and by exploding the most powerful nuclear device tested anywhere in a quarter century. By the end of the year, Kim Jong Un declared that his nuclear deterrent was complete.
Today, North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons stockpile and ballistic missile arsenal represent one of the most serious challenges we face to international security. But for all that the global danger is real, Kim’s programme means more to him than world glory. Internal regime propaganda calls it the country’s ‘treasured sword’, a cherished element of national strategy and a guarantee of regime survival. Fiercely committed to self-reliance, Kim remains determined to avoid unilateral disarmament.
Kim Jong Un and the Bomb explores the history of North Korea’s nuclear weapons development, its present capabilities, and the prospects of containing, if not disarming, Kim’s arsenal. Ankit Panda argues that there is virtually no chance of total disarmament in the next decade, and that we’ll have to learn to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea. His book confronts us head-on with the possible consequences for the US, South Korea and the world.
Ankit Panda is an award-winning writer and international security expert. He is Adjunct Senior Fellow in the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, and a senior editor at The Diplomat. He lives in New York.