Most discussions about the North Korea nuclear threat focus on the risk of conflict between the U.S. and North Korea. Serious as that is, an even more important issue is what the crisis will mean for the U.S. and China – the world’s most consequential relationship. Great risk and great ...

CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned North Korea may be only months away from being able to launch a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States. “They are closer now than they were five years ago. And I expect they will be closer in five months than they are today, ...

Japan has the means, motive, and opportunity to produce nuclear weapons. However, as a matter of long-standing policy, Tokyo has kept its options open, as long as it can rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The perception is widespread that, due to its history as the only country upon which ...

The North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un conducted its sixth underground nuclear test early this September – which Pyongyang claims as its first test of a hydrogen bomb – and in late August and again, two weeks later, the hermit kingdom launched a ballistic missile directly over the territory of ...

On October 10, as North Korea celebrates the creation of the ruling Worker's Party, the United States and regional allies will brace themselves for the possibility of yet another provocative missile test. With multiple missile launches this year, and even the test of a hydrogen nuclear bomb, Pyongyang is pushing ...

President Donald Trump has called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suicidal, but the CIA’s top Asia analysts said Wednesday that he’s a “rational actor” bent on survival. “Waking up one morning and deciding he wants to nuke” Los Angeles is not something Kim Jong-un is likely to do, said Yong ...

Rex Tillerson could be the worst of the 69 secretaries of state in the history of the republic, but he did not deserve the drubbing he took Sunday from his boss. Moreover, Washington’s efforts to disarm North Korea were not served by the public humiliation of America’s chief diplomat over ...

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford set out his views on key national security issues last Tuesday during the Senate Armed Services Committee’s confirmation hearing for his second, two-year term in that position. Remember, as you read this, Dunford is by law the principal military advisor to President Donald Trump, ...

President Donald Trump called negotiations with North Korea a waste of time Sunday morning, directly contradicting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement only one day prior. “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…” Trump tweeted. ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to China this weekend for the second time since taking office in February, where he will meet with his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other Chinese leaders. The trip’s intended purpose is to prepare for President Donald Trump’s state visit to Beijing ...

Saturday’s Pentagon announcement that B-1B bombers escorted by F-15C fighters had flown a route above the demilitarized zone in international airspace over the Sea of Japan east of North Korea, brought back memories to those of us who lived through the aftermaths of the 1964 Tonkin Gulf  “raid,” the USS ...

China and North Korea were no doubt as surprised as anyone by Donald Trump’s dramatic electoral victory. They had probably anticipated that a new Clinton Administration, like the Obama Administration before it, would be anesthetized by Chinese diplomacy and continue the policy of “strategic patience”—really, strategic neglect – that had ...

President Donald Trump announced new sanctions on North Korea on Thursday at the United Nations, measures intended to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. The new executive order will target companies that do business with North Korea, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests this summer, alarming world ...

President Donald Trump used his debut address at the United Nations General Assembly to threaten that the United States would have “no choice but to totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies and to criticize the Iran nuclear deal as an “embarrassment” to the U.S. ...

The Trump Administration continues to pound away at North Korea, insisting military options are on the table, but so far the threats have not stopped Pyongyang from pursuing tests of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to ...

The United States is stepping up calls for China and Russia to comply with new United Nations sanctions on North Korea, a move that experts say would make these measures meaningful and have a significant economic impact on Pyongyang. The United Nations Security Council on Monday night unanimously passed measures ...

Tensions with North Korea are escalating. Pyongyang’s nuclear test on September 3 followed the firing of an intermediate-range missile that flew over Japan, the Trump administration sending stealth F-35 fighters and nuclear-capable B-1 bombers for exercises over South Korea, and South Korea’s defense minister asking whether the U.S. should deploy ...

Following North Korea’s six nuclear test, reported to be far more powerful than any previous test conducted by the Kim regime, many wonder if denuclearizing North Korea is possible. Ambassador Joseph Detrani, former Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Cipher ...

After another act of defiance by the North Korean regime, all eyes turned to China, seen as the best hope to apply leverage to the regime in Pyongyang. President Trump tweeted “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying ...

North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon underground early Sunday morning, demonstrating both its destructive power as well as its defiance of the international community. In this, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, the blast’s power reportedly exceeded – by up to seven times - that of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima ...

Political and military leaders on all sides have assured the public that they are prepared for a potential war with North Korea, but how prepared is the public? For decades, the likelihood of war seemed remote, but that was before North Korea developed nuclear weapons, and power in Pyongyang and ...

Amid continuing tension with North Korea- underscored by the firing on August 29 of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan before plunging into the Pacific Ocean- public understanding and discussion of this complex and increasingly dangerous situation is hampered by a one-dimensional narrative that has shaped much of the ...

North Korea has been brazen in displaying its nuclear capabilities and missile ambitions, but lets the world know virtually nothing about its age-old and lethal stockpile of chemical weapons, denying their existence completely. But new evidence suggests that Pyongyang might retain a significant arsenal of chemical weapons, experts said. Kim ...

Despite years of international sanctions and recent pressure from the Trump Administration, North Korea’s missile program has continued to rack up successes and acquire new capabilities. It would seem these new capabilities have made North Korean leader Kim Jong-un more confident, evidenced by his threat to conduct a missile test ...

North Korea’s July intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests have crossed a new capability threshold, allowing Pyongyang to potentially reach the continental United States. Further, U.S. intelligence estimates predict that North Korea now possesses the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and place it on an ICBM. As tensions remain high ...

Days after threatening a missile test aimed at the waters off the coast of the American territory of Guam and just ahead of the annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises taking place this week, Pyongyang released new propaganda posters highlighting the success of its recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests. “The entire ...

One of the key responsibilities of the Intelligence Community is to provide the president with the other guy’s perspective.  How does he/she see the world and the issues?  What is the person’s mindset, where does it come from, and can it be changed?  It is difficult, if not impossible, to ...

The United States and its allies need to focus first on freezing North Korea’s current nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs with a goal of deterring Kim Jong-un from expanding his stockpile and nuclear delivery systems. Denuclearization of North Korea can remain the long-term goal, but the U.S. military knows ...

Potential conflict on the Korean Peninsula was averted this week when the North Korea media announced that Kim Jung un delayed a decision on firing missiles toward Guam, while he watched U.S. action a little longer.  Prior to this welcomed announcement, President Donald Trump made it clear that the U.S. ...

The U.S.-South Korea joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises begin Monday, after days of bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – and followed by Defense Secretary James Mattis announcing there will be “strong military consequences” if North Korea “initiates hostilities.” Mattis and Secretary ...

The U.S. and South Korea will hold joint military exercises beginning on Monday, as tensions on the Korean peninsula are on the rise. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un engaged in a war of words over the past few weeks, with Trump saying he would release ...

U.S. military intervention to solve the North Korean nuclear crisis is not an option, according to top White House advisor Steve Bannon, who provided a rare window into his thoughts on international affairs in a call to a reporter Tuesday. “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget ...

Within the next week, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump will face situations that will require them to take steps that could increase already heightened tensions, or force one or both to back down from recent threatening statements. On August 21, some 40,000 American and South ...

The nightmarish threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appears more real than ever, but the devil is in the details. This summer’s most recent round of tension came after the successful test by North Korea of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, and ...

President Donald Trump said Thursday his earlier “fire and fury” warning to North Korea may not have been “tough enough,” and he called for the North Koreans to “get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble.”  "If North ...

In the wake of President Donald Trump saying threats to the United States from North Korea would be met with “fire and fury,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued Pyongyang a warning — and a call for de-escalation. “The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit ...

After President Donald Trump’s vow that any threats from North Korea “will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Pyongyang responded within hours, threatening to strike American military forces based on the U.S. island of Guam. The war of ...

Top Cabinet officials sought to dial back the rhetoric while still pushing a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un following President Donald Trump’s vow that threats to the United States from Pyongyang would be met with “fire and fury.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday looked to reframe ...

If there has been one common refrain from the Trump administration, it is that President Barack Obama’s policy of “strategic patience” towards North Korea was not effective in deterring Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. But President Donald Trump and his advisers appear to have replaced strategic patience with an ...

President Donald Trump vowed to respond to North Korea with “fire and fury” if the rogue nation continues to threaten the United States. Speaking to reporters at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey on Tuesday, Trump said “North Korea best not make any more threats to the ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson capped off a whirlwind weekend at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial meeting in Manilla, Philippines by suggesting the United States would be open to dialogue if North Korea stopped its provocative actions. “The best signal that North Korea could give us that ...

My first meeting with the North Korean delegation to the Six Party Talks in 2003 was instructive.  Their lead negotiator, First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan, said the U.S. should accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, and like Pakistan, North Korea would be a good friend of the ...

Editor's Note: Amidst harsh rhetoric from both U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean regime, tensions are currently extremely elevated. After North Korea's missile test at the end of July, The Cipher Brief revisits its conversation with Michael Morell on Kim Jong-un's actions and intent.  American, South Korean and Japanese ...

As North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs ruffle the feathers in the United States and regional players in East Asia, there is another, less visible, confrontation occurring in the depths of computer systems around the world. In the last decade, despite a notable deficiency in global internet access, North ...

Since roughly 2009, North Korea has been active and noisy in cyberspace. From the hacking of government web sites in South Korea and the United States to the trashing of South Korean bank and media company information systems, the revenge attack on Sony, the infiltration of South Korean infrastructures such ...

In December 2014, while many were still preoccupied with the aftermath of the North Korean cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, South Korea was in a crisis of its own. An entity identifying itself as an “Anti-Nuclear Power Group” demanded that the country shut down three of its civilian nuclear reactors by ...

CIA Director Mike Pompeo signaled Thursday that a key goal of the Trump administration is to “separate” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un from control over Pyongang’s nuclear capabilities. "It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that, but the thing that is ...

South Korea has extended an offer for military and humanitarian talks with North Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in ran on a platform of engagement with the North and proposed talks with Pyongyang several times as a candidate and as president. The talks would be the first high-level dialogue between ...

Financial sanctions have emerged as a key strategic weapon for the United States and a primary means of non-military confrontation with nations, companies, and individuals that threaten U.S. and international security. At the national level, Iran was forced to the negotiating table after the U.S. and the international community levied ...

Saturday, on the sidelines of the G-20 in Hamburg, President Trump sat down with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, for more than an hour-and-a-half of "substantive" discussions. Nonetheless, Washington as a practical matter no longer has a "China policy." That’s a good thing. twiett Why? Among other reasons, not having such a ...