North Korea Nuclear Detonations, Missile Tests: Timeline

North Korea conducted its third underground nuclear test today, three weeks after the United Nations increased sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime following its December long-range rocket and satellite launch.

North Korea detonated “an atomic warhead that is lighter and miniaturized but with a big explosive charge,” the official Korean Central News Agency said today. South Korea said the nuclear explosion took place at 11:57 a.m. local time with an estimated yield of 6 to 7 kilotons, bigger than North Korea’s previous tests in 2006 and 2009.

The UN strengthened sanctions against North Korea after it launched an Unha-3 long-range rocket in December. The North began developing ballistic missiles in the 1970s and its current arsenal of operational weapons includes Musudan rockets, which may be able to carry a 650 kilogram (1,430 pound) warhead as far as 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles), according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

1976-1981: Begins development using SCUD-B missile from

the Soviet Union and launch pad from Egypt.

1984: First SCUD-B missile test firing.

1988: Operational deployment of SCUD-B and SCUD-C


1990: First Rodong missile test firing.

1998: Operational deployment of Rodong missiles,

which have a range of 1,300 kilometers.

Firing of Taepodong-1 missile, which North

Korea says was a satellite launch.

2005: North Korea announces possession of nuclear

weapons and its withdrawal from six-party talks aimed at

ending its atomic program.

July 2006: Taepodong-2, Rodong and SCUD missiles test


Oct. 2006: Korean Central News Agency announces “a

successful nuclear test.”

2007: Operational deployment of Rodong missiles.

April 2009: Firing of Taepodong-2 missile, which North

Korea says was a satellite launch. United Nations

strengthens sanctions and North Korea responds by

withdrawing from six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

May 2009: North Korea carries out its second nuclear


July 2009: Test-firing of SCUD and Rodong missiles.

April 2012: North Korea says Unha-3 rocket launch failed.

Dec. 2012: North Korea launches Unha-3 rocket that puts

its first satellite into space.

Feb. 2013: North Korea conducts its third underground nuclear test.

(Sources: The 2010 Defense White Paper published by South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Sungwoo Park in Seoul at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stuart Biggs at

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.