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Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Nuclear-armed state

North Korea has the world's smallest nuclear arsenal. In 2022, it again demonstrated that it lacks the will purposefully to pursue nuclear disarmament. It remained unwilling to adhere to or engage constructively with the TPNW.

TPNW Status

Nuclear warhead inventory at the beginning of 2023
Total inventory of warheads 30
Retired warheads 0
Stockpiled warheads 30
Estimated yield (MT) 1.5
Hiroshima-bomb equivalents 100
TPNW Article 1(1) prohibitions: Compatibility in 2022
(a) Develop, produce, manufacture, acquire Not compatible
Test Compatible
Possess or stockpile Not compatible
(b) Transfer Compatible
(c) Receive transfer or control Compatible
(d) Use Compatible
Threaten to use Not compatible
(e) Assist, encourage or induce Compatible
(f) Seek or receive assistance Compatible
(g) Allow stationing, installation, deployment Compatible
TPNW voting and participation
UNGA resolution on TPNW (latest vote) Voted no (2023)
Participated in 1MSP (2022) No
1MSP delegation size (% women) N/A
Adoption of TPNW (7 July 2017) N/A
Participated in TPNW negotiations (2017) No
Negotiation mandate (A/RES/71/258) Did not vote
Other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) treaties
Party to an NWFZ No
Party to the NPT No (1985-2003)
Ratified the CTBT No (Annex 2 state)
Party to the BWC Yes (Acceded 1987)
Party to the CWC No
IAEA safeguards and fissile material
Safeguards agreement Yes (Not implemented)
TPNW Art 3(2) deadline N/A
Small Quantities Protocol No
Additional Protocol No
Enrichment facilities/reprocessing plants Yes (Mil, Uncertain)
HEU stocks 700 kg
Plutonium stocks 40 kg (Mil)

Latest developments

After having first abstained on the annual UN General Assembly resolutions on the TPNW in 2018 and 2019, North Korea voted against in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, said in September 2022: ‘By promulgating a law on a policy of the nuclear forces, our country’s status as a nuclear-weapon state has become irreversible.’ He described North Korea's nuclear arsenal as ‘a deterrent and ultimate weapon’ that has been developed ‘to eliminate nuclear war and secure the country’s pride and safety’.1

In the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in October 2022, North Korea stated: 'In order to realize the complete abolition of nuclear weapons, the United States, the first user of nuclear weapons and the biggest nuclear weapon state in the world, should take the lead in nuclear disarmament and refrain from provision of nuclear umbrella, sharing of nuclear weapons and transfer of nuclear technology.'2


  • North Korea should acknowledge that nuclear deterrence is not a sustainable solution for its own or international security, and that any perceived benefits are far outweighed by the risk of nuclear accidents or war.

  • North Korea should pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament.

  • North Korea should urgently adhere to the TPNW. Until it is in a position to do so, it should welcome the TPNW as a valuable component in the global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture, work with the Treaty's states parties on practical steps towards disarmament, and attend the meetings of states parties as an observer.

  • North Korea should also return to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and adhere to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

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