North Korea, implementing the “Military-First” policy, has declared 2012 as “The Year of Powerful and Wealthy Nation," concentrating their efforts to become a nuclear power. North Korea’s nuclear weapons (NWs) program has long been a source of tension and disturbance in Korean Peninsula, East Asia and entire international community. However, there exists another threat to the peace and security on Korean Peninsula: North Korea’s possession of chemical and biological weapons (C&BWs). North Korea is holding NWs in one hand and C&BWs in the other.
North Korea started developing C&BWs in mid-1960s, and by mid-1970s they had successfully developed technology to produce extremely destructive C&BWs. North Korea already has 5,000 tons of chemical weapon(CWs) in its arsenal and has capability to produce additional 12,000 tons in a state of war. North Korea possesses greater destructive capability than world had imagined; they are able to cause damages far greater than the recent nuclear power plant explosions in Japan.
North Korea has been very systematic in developing C&BWs. Chemical weapons (CWs) are designed as tactical weapons and biological weapons (BWs) are designed as strategic weapons.
North Korea has more than 5,000 tons of material for development of CWs distributed across the country, and most of the facilities are concentrating on producing nerve agents such as Sarin and VX gases. Materials for CW is manufactured in 12 different plants: Chongsu Chemical Plant for Basic Commodoties(see footnote) in Sakju district of North Pyongan Province, Suncheon Lime Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant for Basic Commodoties in South Pyoungan Province, and February 8 Vinalon Complex for Basic Commodities in Hamhung district of South Hamgyong Province. Researches on CW are carried out in Shinuiju, Heungnam, Kanggye, and Yongsung, under technological supervision of Basic Commodity Bureau in Academy of Science's Hamhung branch under the Second Economic Committee (SEC.)
North Korean soldiers are being trained to use CWs such as microbe and chemical bombs, but are not aware of destructive powers and dangers of these weapons. According to the South Korean Ministry of National Defense, should North Korea launch 100 rockets loaded with CWs -It only takes 100 240mm rocket launchers to deliver 15 tons of Sarin gas - estimated 46,000 to 460,000 will be killed or injured.
Biological weapons (BWs) are far more insidious than CWs because they are without emergent form. Made with microbial germ, toxin, bacteria, virus, and mildew, BWs are extremely dangerous because they can even alter human DNAs, but are invisible and odorless making them virtually impossible to detect.
North Korean agencies involved in producing, storing, and managing BWs are: Institute for Bacterial Chemistry and Institute of Medicine (departments of Academy of Science for National Defense), Institute of Microbiology, and Institute for Preservation of Microorganism's Basic Commodities (departments of National Academy of Science's Basic Commodity Bureau). According to one scientist in North Korea, the North Korean military has developed technology to produce Anthrax, Smallpox, and Cholera viruses along with several other pest viruses. Their main emphasis, however, has been on developing Anthrax and Smallpox viruses.
North Korea opened the Institute of Microbiological Diseases in 1954 in the district of Kanggye in Jagang Province, and bacteria and mycete laboratories were added in 1966. Pro-North Korean Residents’ League member scientists brought into Korea the latest technologies on developing BWs from Japan and China. By the late 1970s, the Institute was engaged in full-fledged research and development of BWs. According to a recent North Korean biology and medical science journal, North Korea has developed a genetic altering technology to mutate and produce new types of germs.
One microbiology expert from Nuclear and Chemical Defense Bureau (of the Korean People's Army General Staff) said in July, 2000, "North Korea now possesses immeasurably destructive potential in their chemical and biological weaponry arsenal." North Korea's C&BWs are the result of their many years of research and development to build their capacity for weapons of mass destruction.
C&BWs truly exist in North Korea. They are a reality on Korean Peninsula. This is another wake-up call for South Korean security.
Note1. "Basic commodity" is a phrase used by the North Korean government to cover up activities related to "military supplies".
Translation by Hoyeon Choi Supervised by Sunny Kang
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