North Korea’s nuclear, missile and other asymmetric military capabilities present grave challenges to regional security. Pyongyang’s propensity to export its weapons also threatens the global non-proliferation regime. Despite economic impoverishment and an inability to feed its people, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains heavily armed and ready to fire first. Its military provocations in 2010 demonstrated the potential for resumed conflict on the Korean Peninsula. This IISS Strategic Dossier provides a detailed and objective assessment of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programmes. It is also broad in scope, addressing North Korea’s conventional forces; internal dynamics amidst an unfolding dynastic succession; non-military security threats, including state criminality, human rights abuses and refugee issues; and unification scenarios for the peninsula. The Dossier is intended to assist public understanding of the security challenges posed by North Korea and to contribute to the debate on the best policy responses.