North Korea Amplifies Nuclear Capabilities with 20 New Nukes Acquired in 2023


The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has published its annual report on global militaries, revealing that North Korea is believed to possess 50 nuclear weapons, a significant increase from the 30 estimated last year. According to SIPRI, evidence suggests that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is placing greater emphasis on the country’s nuclear assets.

The report estimates that North Korea has assembled around 50 warheads and has enough fissile material to reach a total of up to 90 warheads. This is a significant increase over the previous year’s estimates. North Korea has not conducted a nuclear test since 2017, but has regularly threatened to use its nuclear weapons against South Korea, which is still technically at war with North Korea.

Matt Korda, an Associate Researcher with SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, expressed concern that the sudden increase in North Korea’s nuclear development may indicate an intention to use these weapons early in a conflict. The development comes as tensions between the two Koreas have surged in recent weeks.

North Korea has been launching hundreds of balloons carrying trash and feces across the border, allegedly in response to political pamphlets being floated across the border by independent activists. South Korea has responded by reinstalling massive loudspeakers in the Demilitarized Zone to broadcast content to the North.

The 50 warheads in North Korea’s arsenal were counted alongside a global total of 12,121 existing warheads as of January 2024. Russia – whose leader Vladimir Putin is expected in Pyongyang this week – and the US account for the majority of these warheads, with over 90% belonging to the two countries.

‘While the global total of nuclear warheads continues to fall as cold war-era weapons are gradually dismantled, regrettably we continue to see year-on-year increases in the number of operational nuclear warheads,’ SIPRI Director Dan Smith said in a statement. ‘This trend seems likely to continue and probably accelerate in the coming years and is extremely concerning.”

Frances Martel
Frances Martel
Author and editor specializing in international current events.

Latest stories


Related Articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!
Continue on app