For the past two decades, North Korea has repeatedly caused international concern with its development and testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. But while the political aspects of these programs receive plenty of media attention, it is difficult to gain a realistic picture of the technologies at work, their effectiveness and the actual stockpiles in North Korea.
To learn more about North Korea’s weapons programs, and especially the country’s missiles, we had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel A. Pinkston, lecturer in International Relations with Troy University in Seoul. Professor Pinkston is also the Northeast Asia Deputy Project Director for the International Crisis Group in Seoul and, before that, was director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury College.
Professor Pinkston received his M.A. in Korean studies from Yonsei University and his Ph.D. in international affairs from the University of California, San Diego. He wrote The North Korean Ballistic Missile Program (2008) for the Strategic Studies Institute, and has published various academic articles and book chapters on security issues on the Korean peninsula.
Even though [North Korea has] that large number of missiles — several hundred missiles — stored mostly in underground facilities, they’re limited by the number of launchers […] The numbers are under a hundred of launchers for Scuds and Nodongs, so even though you might have five hundred missiles, but if you only have fifty launchers, it’s not like you can launch five hundred missiles at once. You might be able to launch a missile off it with that launcher, and then you would have to go back and get another missile and then get your fuel and oxidizer and go back and fuel up that missile. So they’re limited or constrained by that number.
The interview was recorded on February 3rd in Seoul.