Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant (Nam-chon Chemical Complex)

Nuclear Weapons
, by and The Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant (38.318369 N, 126.432360 E) is located in Pyongsan-gun (평산군, Pyongsan County), Hwangbuk-do (황북, North Hwanghae Province), approximately 45 kilometers from the DMZ and 96 kilometers northwest of Seoul—the capital of South Korea. Since approximately 1990 it has occupied an critical role in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (North Korea) nuclear research and weapons programs as the sole known provider of uranium oxide (yellowcake) to these programs for fuel fabrication or enrichment.

Living History with Ambassador Robert R. King: My Trip to North Korea

Foreign Affairs, Human Rights
In this episode, Ambassador King shares how he became the first (and only) U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean human rights issues under the Obama administration. He recalls how he used his unique position to coordinate efforts with U.S. and foreign government agencies, as well as with non-governmental organizations, to advance North Korea’s human rights. In this interview, Ambassador King also recounts his experiences going to North Korea to intercede in U.S.-North Korean affairs and shares one of his most memorable experiences as special envoy.

Kim Jong-un Re-emerges

Commentary, Foreign Affairs
, by After having gone missing for twenty days, Kim Jong-un reappeared on May 1, 2020 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new fertilizer production facility in Sunchon. What fueled much speculation about Kim’s ill-health, and rumors of his death, for the past three weeks was the fact that he has missed several important public events, including his grandfather’s birthday commemoration on April 15th, which was highly unusual and unprecedented for Kim.

Making Solid Tracks: North Korea-China Railroad Crossing at Manpo-Jian

Infrastructure & Energy
Photo credit: Matt Acevedo's Flickr photo stream. Railroad Near Krome at Sunrise. https://www.flickr.com/photos/130441601@N08/16428347166/in/photostream/
, by and Widely considered as a midterm referendum on President Moon, the April electoral victory will breathe new life into his administration’s heretofore stalled diplomatic efforts with North Korea, a key pillar of which is inter-Korean railway cooperation. In the context of South Korea's renewed efforts in inter-Korean railway cooperation, Beyond Parallel reviews the railway connections of the Korean peninsula.

Living History with Ambassador Robert R. King

Foreign Affairs, Human Rights
This episode of Living History features part one of two interviews with Robert R. “Bob” King to mark the sixth anniversary of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on human rights in North Korea. Ambassador King served as special envoy for North Korea human rights issues from 2009 – 2017, leading efforts to advance human rights and humanitarian conditions in North Korea, secure the release of U.S. citizens held in North Korea, and represent the United States in international organizations dealing with these issues.

North Korea Fine Tunes its Precision Strike Capabilities Amidst Pandemic

Ballistic Missiles, Military
, by On March 29, 2020 at 6:10 am KST, North Korea launched two projectiles speculated to be short-range ballistic missiles from the Wonsan area in Kangwon province into the sea between Korea and Japan. The missiles traveled a distance of 230 kilometers (143 miles) and reached a peak altitude of 30 kilometers (19 miles). An announcement published in North Korean state media the following day confirmed that the two missiles were launched as part of super-large multiple rocket launcher tests. It also stated the test was carried out by the Academy of Defence Science.

“Fire and Fury 2?”: Q1 2020 Provocations Reminiscent of Q1 2017

Ballistic Missiles, Military
, by and On March 21, 2020 North Korea launched two projectiles from Sonchon county in North Pyongan province towards the East Sea. The launches took place 5 minutes apart at 6:45am and 6:50am KST, respectively. The projectiles traveled a distance of 410km (255 miles) at a maximum altitude of 50km (31 miles) and closely resemble the KN-24 short-range ballistic missile system. This is the third event of Q1 in 2020, which is equivalent to the number of missile provocations in Q1 of 2017 during the “Fire and Fury” era.

Yongbyon Declassified Part VII: Final Stretch of First-Phase Construction Begins

Nuclear Weapons
CIA, declassified KH-4B image, April 20, 1972.
, by Declassified April 1972 satellite imagery the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center show developments which taken as a whole continue to represent both an ongoing first-phase construction project for the facility and early infrastructure development efforts within a longer-term plan for future expansion. This work laid the foundations for the construction of the facility’s first waste storage facility in the years to follow and the massive second phase expansion that would begin during the early-1980s.

The First North Korean Weapons Test of the Year: What Does It Mean?

Military
, by and On March 2, 2020 at 12:37pm (KST), North Korea launched two short-range projectiles from the Wonsan, Kangwon Province area towards the East Sea. The projectiles traveled a distance of 240km (150 miles) at a maximum altitude of 35km (22 miles) with a 20-second interval between the two launches. While the exact type and model of the projectiles are yet to be confirmed, considering the nature of the test they may be SRBMs or new surface-to-surface missiles. The short interval time also indicates that the event may have been a multiple rocket launcher system test.