US Report: North Korea Producing Viruses, Bacteria for Germ Warfare Program

By Madz Dizon

Apr 17, 2024 01:12 PM EDT

US Report: North Korea Producing Viruses, Bacteria for Germ Warfare Program
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un walks to a meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019, in Panmunjom, Korea.
(Photo : BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

A US report claims that North Korea has created sprays and "poison pens" to spread deadly diseases as part of its germ warfare program.

The US State Department's report on Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction includes an appraisal of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un's programs. It was highlighted that the program is already capable of causing chaos in the event of war.

North Korea's Alleged Germ Warfare Program

The weapons are thought to be intended to spread viruses like smallpox and anthrax, which some experts feel is more deadly than Kim Jong Un's nuclear weapons development. 

According to the US State Department, there are concerns that Pyongyang has the ability to weaponize biological weapons agents using unconventional methods like sprayers and poison pen injection devices. These tactics have reportedly been used by the DPRK.

The devices have reportedly been deployed for the purpose of delivering chemical weapons and potentially covertly delivering biological warfare agents.

Biological weapons are designed to spread disease-causing organisms or toxins with the intention of causing harm or death to humans, animals, or plants. Agents like anthrax have the potential to cause severe illness and fatalities. There is speculation that the secretive nation has possessed biological weapons capabilities dating back to the 1960s.

According to the report, it has been stated that North Korea possesses the necessary resources and expertise to manufacture biological agents with potential military applications.

These agents include bacteria, viruses, and toxins that could potentially be utilized as biological warfare agents. The DPRK also possesses the ability to genetically modify biological products.

It is challenging to obtain reliable intelligence from inside North Korea, as the country has never acknowledged having biological weapons. It is worth noting that the autocratic regime has not submitted an annual data exchange report (the Confidence Building Measure) since 1990, despite being part of the Biological weapon convention.

While not all State Parties make routine submissions, there has been a steady increase in the number of submissions over the past few years. The report submitted in 1990 has been dismissed by the US as "null" after North Korea asserted that there was no relevant information to report.

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Russia Blocks Security Council's Sanctions Against North Korea

The recent report from the US State Department coincides with the upcoming expiration of the Security Council's sanctions on North Korea, as assessed by the "expert panel." The annual renewal of the panel's mandate was blocked by Russia, according to The Evening Standard.

Moscow, a member of the Security Council initially supported and voted in favor of the sanctions upon their initial implementation.

However, it has come to light that they are now using North Korean weapons, such as artillery shells, to carry out attacks on Ukraine, in clear defiance of the imposed sanctions.

Several other states on the Security Council, who continue to back the sanctions, are now exploring an alternative approach. One option could be the establishment of a new institution by the UN General Assembly, as opposed to the Security Council.

The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, paid a visit to South Korea on Tuesday to engage in discussions with the South Korean government regarding the issue, Daily Mail reported.

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