Tracing the origin of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program

The godfathers of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program were an elderly trio: a nuclear physicist, a military general and a broker with contacts in Pakistan.

The broker is reported to have died in 2014, but together, the three helped lay the groundwork that led to the isolated country’s fourth nuclear test on Wednesday.

Roughly 6,000 people are involved in North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, according to a 2009 report by South Korea’s Science & Technology Policy Institute, and they are an elite corps. Many are given brand new houses and those at the very top are awarded medals listing them as heroes of the state. Continue reading