May 24, 2024

What If?

An NK News series featuring scenarios about North Korea’s future. Articles in this series draw on verified facts and rigorous analysis to explore hypothetical events in the years and decades ahead.

What if North Korea stages military drills with Russia and China?

What if North Korea stages military drills with Russia and China?

The ‘nightmare scenario’ is plausible but there are many practical limitations to trilateral war games, experts say

What if North Korea stages military drills with Russia and China?
Anton Sokolin
Anton Sokolin October 13, 2023
What if North Korea keeps its COVID border controls for years to come?

What if North Korea keeps its COVID border controls for years to come?

Kim Jong Un may see little value in allowing outsiders to enter again, even if to the detriment of his people

What if North Korea keeps its COVID border controls for years to come?
Chad O'Carroll
Chad O'Carroll June 28, 2023
What if South Korea gets the bomb?

What if South Korea gets the bomb?

Nuclear weapons would help Seoul deter North Korea but could invite devastating sanctions and undermine US-ROK alliance

What if South Korea gets the bomb?
James Fretwell
James Fretwell January 18, 2023
What if North Korea just gave up its nukes?

What if North Korea just gave up its nukes?

The US and South Korea have no interest in invading a non-nuclear DPRK, but Kim would still clamp down on his own people

What if North Korea just gave up its nukes?
James Fretwell
James Fretwell January 3, 2023
What if a satellite super constellation monitored every inch of North Korea?

What if a satellite super constellation monitored every inch of North Korea?

AI could analyze exabytes of data to provide God-like intel on DPRK nuclear facilities, clandestine activities and more

What if a satellite super constellation monitored every inch of North Korea?
Ethan Jewell
Ethan Jewell December 14, 2022
What if North Korea hosts the World Cup?

What if North Korea hosts the World Cup?

The country already has a number of large stadiums but would need South Korean help to overhaul its infrastructure

What if North Korea hosts the World Cup?
Shreyas Reddy
Shreyas Reddy December 6, 2022
What if North Korea stops publishing state media for international audiences?

What if North Korea stops publishing state media for international audiences?

Paranoia about leaks could compel regime to curtail access, cutting off key source of information about DPRK

What if North Korea stops publishing state media for international audiences?
Chad O'Carroll
Chad O'Carroll July 22, 2022
What if the UN shuts down the Panel of Experts overseeing North Korea sanctions?

What if the UN shuts down the Panel of Experts overseeing North Korea sanctions?

China’s skepticism of sanctions could lead it to end support, eliminating a key source of information on DPRK activities

What if the UN shuts down the Panel of Experts overseeing North Korea sanctions?
Chad O'Carroll
Chad O'Carroll May 27, 2022
What if North Korea’s vessels become significantly harder to track?

What if North Korea’s vessels become significantly harder to track?

China’s data privacy laws and friction with the West may soon make ship tracking information hard to come by in Asia

What if North Korea’s vessels become significantly harder to track?
Ethan Jewell
Ethan Jewell April 29, 2022
What if the US recognized North Korea as a nuclear power?

What if the US recognized North Korea as a nuclear power?

The move would open a door for better US-DPRK relations but set a damning precedent for global nonproliferation

What if the US recognized North Korea as a nuclear power?
James Fretwell
James Fretwell March 29, 2022