Analysts: NKorea's chemical arms as grave as nukes

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PostThu Jun 18, 2009 8:16 pm » by Wrathofkahn

At least with nukes you can see whats killing you... :nails: ... as_nuclear

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea's massive stockpile of chemical weapons is as threatening as its nuclear program, analysts said Thursday, highlighting an aspect of the secretive regime's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction that is rarely talked about.

Adding to already high tensions in the region, a Japanese report said North Korea may fire its most advanced ballistic missile toward Hawaii around Independence Day — the day when the regime test-fired a long-range missile three years ago, though it failed seconds after liftoff.

A new missile launch — though not expected to reach U.S. territory — would be a brazen slap in the face of the international community, which punished North Korea with new U.N. sanctions for conducting a second nuclear test on May 25 in defiance of a U.N. ban.

North Korea spurned the U.N. Security Council resolution with threats of war and pledges to expand its nuclear bomb-making program.

The missile now being readied in the North is believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers), and would be launched from North Korea's Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast sometime around July 4, Independence Day in U.S., the Yomiuri newspaper said.

It cited an analysis by Japan's Defense Ministry and intelligence gathered by U.S. reconnaissance satellites.

Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs are centerpieces of the regime's catalog of weapons of mass destruction.

But the impoverished nation, which has put most of its scarce resources into boosting its military capabilities under its "army-first" policy, also has a large chemical arsenal, as well as capabilities to produce biological weapons.

On Thursday, an international security think tank warned that these weapons are no less serious a threat to the region than the North's nuclear arsenal.

The independent International Crisis Group said the North is believed to have between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, including mustard gas, phosgene, blood agents and sarin. These weapons can be delivered with ballistic missiles and long-range artillery and are "sufficient to inflict massive civilian casualties on South Korea."

"If progress is made on rolling back Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, there could be opportunities to construct a cooperative diplomatic solution for chemical weapons and the suspected biological weapons program," the think tank said in a report.

It also called on the U.S. to engage the North in dialogue to defuse the nuclear crisis, saying "diplomacy is the least bad option." It said Washington should be prepared to send a high-level special envoy to Pyongyang to resolve the tension.

South Korea's annual defense report, published early this year, said that in addition to chemical weapons, the North is believed to be capable of producing biological weapons with agents like anthrax and smallpox.

But of immediate concern is Pyongyang's ballistic missile program, which would get a major boost if it is able to fire the Taepodong-2, which was last tested on July 4, 2006. That missile fell into the water about 40 seconds after takeoff.

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PostThu Jun 18, 2009 9:05 pm » by Ph0enix

To me, its more likely that nook would be snuck in here by ship more so than a missle that would be instantly picked up and patrioted down. the idea that 10's of cells of koreana (did we call them gooks or zipper heads? i don't remember THAT name for charlie) would be over here, in the back of or basement of a few korean stores mixin up chemicals of whatever sort ready to infect water, air, food, and perhaps specific targets. same goes for the taliban for that matter. ninja like gorilla tactics that take advantage of our freedoms over here and our refusal to just interrorgate every muslim and korean... BY day they simply work in the store while others mix the chems, make the bombs, and acquire the bombs and other war goods. By night, the store is shut down, plans are gone over and over again, and tatics are planned and perfected. Thats how I would attack a large powerful target.. like an ant or like a possum... subtley, slowly, multidirectional, in mass...

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