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North Korea

Special Weapons

Chemical Weapons

The Chemical Directorate, Ministry of People's Armed Forces, is believed to have been established immediately after the end of the Korean War. In the 1950s and 1960s, chemical staffs and units were established in the army down through the division level. In the 1980s, the chemical unit attached to each level was upgraded, from platoon to company, company to battalion, and so on.

Although little information is available regarding the army's offensive chemical doctrine, and an offensive chemical warfare capability was not unequivocally confirmed as deployed as of mid1993 , North Korea has the ability to produce and employ a wide range of chemical weapons. Those weapons are deliverable by a variety of potential launch and delivery vehicles, including most of the military's artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers, and mortars. The air force can deliver chemical bombs and warheads, as can FROG or Scud missiles. As of mid-1993, the production, rate, and types of chemical agents had not been confirmed, but by the late 1980s as many as eight industrial facilities capable of producing chemical agents had been identified; they were located at Anju, Aoji, Ch'ngjin, Hamhng, Manp'o, Sinhung, Siniju, and Sunch'n. There were three research institutes; they were located at Kanggye, Siniju, and near Hamhng (see Industry , ch. 3). North Korea is credited with the capability to produce nerve agents, blood agents, blistering agents, and choking agents. Some estimates place North Korea's chemical stockpiles at around 250 tons.

The acquisition of defensive chemical warfare is not confined to the army. Each airfield has a chemical platoon equipped with decontamination equipment and detection systems derived from Soviet or Chinese designs. Their missions include training personnel in the use of chemical protective gear and the detection of chemical agents. Chemical training is combined with all types of combat training to develop mission capability under chemical warfare conditions. Army personnel are equipped with protective masks and rudimentary suits or capes, but on a severely constricted basis to conserve equipment stocks. Emergency procedures and the use of gas masks are taught as part of basic training.

Data as of June 1993