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North Korea Nuclear Test


kim jong il

On October 9, 2006, the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or North Korea, announced that it had conducted a successful underground test of a nuclear weapon. On October 16th, U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed this, and on October 14, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to impose sanctions on North Korea. (historically, China and Russia (both permanent members of the Security Council) have been very reluctant to openly oppose North Korea in such a way.)


The history behind North Korea's decision to perform these tests is complex and involves intricate international relations between South Korea, the People's Republic of China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. stretching back to the Korean War (1950-53) and earlier.

Below are a series of links to resources on the internet that we hope will be helpful to secondary and college educators teaching about this recent incident. Feedback and further suggestions are always welcome.


  1. In the News
  2. Commentary and Analysis
  3. Primary Documents
  4. For Students
  5. Lesson Plans on North Korea and Nuclear Weapons
  6. Lesson Plans on Nuclear Weapons
  7. Lesson Plans on Historical Background
  8. General Web Resources on North Korea
  9. General Web Resources on Nuclear Weapons
  10. Background on the Korean War

In the news:

North Korea's Nuclear Push
List of National Public Radio reports on the topic. Includes timeline of North Korea's nuclear program and a link to editorials published around the world

North Korea-Diplomacy and Deterrence - List of stories at the Washington Post.

News from the Korean Central News Agency of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) - Official news organ of North Korea

Official North Korean announcement of successful nuclear test

Coverage of the North Korea Nuclear Test by the Korea Herald, South Korea's English-language newspaper

Commentary and Analysis:

What Will Stop North Korea - by Charles Krauthammer (10/12/06) commentary for the Washington Post

We Need a New Deterrent - by David Ignatius(10/11/06) commentary for the Washington Post

"North Korea Should Be More Realistic"
An interview with Ban Ki Moon, foreign minister of South Korea and recently appointed United Nations Secretary General(10/15/06)

Reported Test 'Fundamentally Changes the Landscape' for U.S. Officials - Analysis by Washington Post staff writer Glenn Kossler(10/9/06)

Analysis From Professor Bruce Cumings, professor at University Of Chicago and North Korea expert, on Democracy Now radio program -(10/11/06)

North Korea's Flag

Editorials from The Economist:

Unsanctioned (10/16/06)

A regime as rickety as his own (10/12/06)

North Korea: The nightmare comes to pass (10/12/06)

Primary Documents:

The UN Resolution 1718: The sanctions against the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) (10/15/06)

President Bush's Remarks on UN Security Council Resolution on North Korea (10/14/06)

USGS map of siesmic activity during the test.

For Students:

Nuclear Asia: Has the World Gone M.A.D.? (10/06)

North Korea: This Is Not Just About A Test (10/06)

Nuclear Asia: The U.S. and North Korea - Interview with Jay Lefkowitz Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea for the U.S. government(6/20/06)

Nuclear Test: North Korea defies UN in testing bomb - Scholastic News(10/9/06)

Who Has Nukes?

Lesson Plans on North Korea and Nuclear Weapons

North Korea's Nuclear Weapon Test from

North Korea and Nuclear Weapons - October 2006 from the Choices Program, Teaching with the News

North Korea, the U.S. and the Nuclear Threat by Alan Shapiro, for

North Korea Lesson Plans: Nuke Numbers and Get the Whole Scoop! from Scholastic

Face-Off: United States Foreign Policy with North Korea (grades 7-12) from PBS Frontline World

Teacher's Guide to accompany PBS Frontline episode "Kim's Nuclear Gamble"

Lesson Plans on Nuclear Weapons Generally

Controlling Nuclear Weapons: Debating the Non-Proliferation Treaty by Lisa Prososki for NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

In this image taken from North Korean television, a broadcaster reported on the nuclear test.

Lesson Plans on Historical Background

The Korean War (grades 9-12) by Lara Maupin for Discovery Education.

Divided Peninsula: Six Decades of Military and Political Tension in Korea (grades 7-8) from PBS Wide Angle

Web Resources on North Korea in general:

Asian Studies Virtual Library: North Korea

BBC Country Profile: North Korea

Resources on nuclear weapons issues in general: A Project of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Who's Next to Go Nuclear Commentary by Andrew Grotto for the Washington Post

Background on the Korean War

BBC In Depth: The Korean War

Last Updated July 27, 2012

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