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Kim Jong Un and the Bomb: How Scared Should We Be?

Ankit Panda spoke to Dr Patricia Lewis about how this small nation became a nuclear power—and how we can learn to live with it

North Korea shocked the world in September 2017 by exploding the most powerful nuclear device tested anywhere in 25 years. Months earlier, it had conducted the first test flight of a missile capable of ranging much of the United States. Soon after, Kim Jong Un, the reclusive state’s ruler, declared that his nuclear deterrent was complete. World leaders, intelligence officials and many ordinary people around the world shuddered at the thought of a fully nuclear-armed North Korea.

But how did this brutal and impoverished nation build such a sophisticated nuclear programme? If the international community had taken non proliferation more seriously after the Cold War could things have turned out differently? And what should be our end game with the North Koreans? Should we be seeking an Iran style nuclear deal or would that be a fatal error of judgment? 

In September 2020 we were joined by Ankit Panda, renowned security expert and author of Kim Jong Un and The Bomb, who will speak to Dr Patricia Lewis, former Director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research and head of international security at Chatham House, about how this small nation became a nuclear power—and how we can learn to live with it.


Speakers

Speakers

Ankit Panda

Stanton Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Stanton Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. American writer, analyst, and researcher specialising in international security, defence, geopolitics, and economics. He is currently editor-at-large at the Diplomat, where he writes daily on security, geopolitics, and economics in the Asia-Pacific region and hosts a popular podcast.  He has consulted for the United Nations in New York and Geneva on nonproliferation and disarmament matters and was previously an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, where his work focused on nuclear and conventional force developments in Asia, deterrence, and nuclear strategy.

Dr Patricia Lewis

Research Director for Conflict, Science & Transformation and the Director of the International Security Programme at Chatham House


Research Director for Conflict, Science & Transformation and the Director of the International Security Programme at Chatham House. Her former posts include Deputy Director and Scientist-in-Residence at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute and Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).
Chair

Edward Lucas

Writer and consultant specialising in European and transatlantic security


Writer and consultant specialising in European and transatlantic security. Formerly a senior editor at The Economist, the world’s foremost newsweekly, he is now a senior vice-president at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). He writes a weekly column in the London Times. He has written several books including The New Cold War, a prescient account of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Deception, an investigative account of East-West espionage, and Cyberphobia, about the phenomenon of cybercrime. He is a regular broadcaster on international and British outlets, including the BBC’s Today programme, Start the Week and Newsnight.

 

Speakers are subject to change.