A report on Wednesday, which cited an anonymous source connected to intelligence, stated that the DPRK was experimenting with biological weapons, including a possible test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) loaded with an anthrax-laden warhead. Kim Jong Un’s regime denies such actions, stating the nation “maintains its consistent stand to oppose development, manufacture, stockpiling and possession of biological weapons.”
The original claims from an unidentified person associated with South Korean intelligence were reported in Japan’s Asahi newspaper. According to the Daily Mail, the publication also said that the US was aware of the tests conducted or planned by North Korea, and that the intention was to determine whether anthrax bacteria remained viable after being exposed to high temperatures, such as those associated with re-entry.
North Korea has denied the allegations that it was developing biological weapons, asserting it will “take revenge” against the US for making such statements.
In a statement released through the state Korean Central News Agency, the DPRK also stated that the more the US “clings” to its anti-North Korea position “the more hardened the determination of our entire military personnel and people to take revenge will be.”
The accusation comes at a time when tensions between nations have been particularly high. The North Koreans have viewed joint military exercises between South Korea and the US, largely for the upcoming winter Olympics, as the two countries preparing for war. While the US is aware of how North Korea is interpreting the exercises, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that he was not aware of any plans to “alter longstanding and scheduled and regular military exercises.”
China has been angry since the THAAD, a US anti-missile system, was deployed in South Korea, claiming that the THAAD’s radar can view into China’s territory. South Korea has argued that it needs the system to guard against North Korean missile threats and nuclear programs.
Anthrax is a deadly bacteria which could potentially be added to a missile to create a biological weapon. While an initial infection often resembles the flu, it quickly changes, entering a second phase where the person experiences high fever, severe breathing problems, chest pains, and shock. Typically, once those symptoms set in, the person dies within two days.