DPRK's Biochemical Threat

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Fifty miles south of the Chinese border lies the rural town of Chongju. Like many North Korean towns, it is a small, impoverished place where people scratch a bare existence from government-controlled farms. What photographs exist of Chongju reveal a brown landscape of depleted-looking fields and shanty-style houses. It is hard to believe anything of value grows here.

But, according to intelligence reports, something precious to the North Korean regime may be under cultivation in Chongju. Beyond the shacks stands an installation suspected of being a component in North Korea's bioweapons (BW) research and development program. The effort is steeped in a level of secrecy possible only in a totalitarian state, but it is thought to encompass at least 20 facilities throughout the country. Another 12 plants churn out chemical weapons.

In late November, delegates of the signatory countries to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) met at the United Nations office in Geneva for the sixth review of the treaty since its inception in 1972. The meeting took place just weeks after North Korea publicly added the third prong to its capacity for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by testing a nuclear device.For the entire article, click HERE.

(Note: You may have noticed we're posting more and more stuff from Popular Mechanics these days, which is because that magazine's great staff has agreed to let us feature their best defense-related content. Look for it here and at Military.com.)

-- Christian

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