by The Chicago Times Staff

June 14, 2021

STOCKHOLM — According to a Swedish think tank, North Korea continues to develop weapons of mass destruction, and the regime is believed to have increased its nuclear arsenal.

Pyongyang is one of nine nuclear-armed states in the world, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual report, which also includes the United States, Russia, Pakistan, and Israel.  According to the report, North Korea has avoided nuclear weapons tests since 2017 and did not test-launch long-range ballistic missiles in 2020.  The regime, however, “continued production of fissile material and development of short and long-range ballistic missiles” away from public view, according to the institute.

Pyongyang now has 40 to 50 nuclear weapons, according to the think tank, up from 30 to 40 warheads last year.  Its calculations are based on the number of warheads North Korea could “potentially build” with the fissile material available, according to the report.

The institute stated, “There is no publicly available evidence that North Korea has produced an operational nuclear warhead for delivery by an intercontinental-range ballistic missile,”

“But it might have a small number of warheads for medium-range ballistic missiles.”

The figures for North Korea are “highly uncertain” and are not included in the final tally of 13,080 weapons worldwide.

The warning comes a week after IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi stated that a suspected uranium enrichment site in North Korea appears to be operational.  Analysts have previously claimed that the Kangson facility outside Pyongyang, in Chollima-guyok, is designed to produce Uranium-235, which can be used to make nuclear weapons.