North Korea began tests to load anthrax onto its intercontinental ballistic missiles, a reports said Tuesday. A recent ICBM test by North Korea, allegedly of a missile that could strike the us with a nuke, did not survive re-entry into the atmosphere. Weaponized anthrax mostly infects humans through inhalation, which is the deadliest form of transmission.
Anthrax is an infection of the skin, lungs, intestines or blood caused by Bacillus anthracis.
Just this week, the White House released a security paper noting that Pyongyang is pursuing chemical and biological weapons that could be delivered by missile.
"North Korea-a country that starves its own people-has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland", the document said. In 2012, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense estimated North Korea possessed between 2,500 and 5,000 metric tons of chemical weapons.
The source said that North Korea was likely looking to load its range of ICBMs with anthrax as its nuclear-tipped missiles can not yet reach the US mainland.
North Korea claimed it had completed its nuclear force after it fired a new Hwasong-15 ICBM in late November.
Washington and Seoul have carried out joint military drills simulating and combating an attack of a biological nature.
The U.S. government is reportedly aware of the tests but has made no official statements.
North Korea denied the reports, however, with the state-run Korean Central News Agency citing Pyongyang's adherence to the Biological Weapons Convention, thus "maintain [ing] its consistent stand to oppose development, manufacture, stockpiling and possession of biological weapons".
The 10 vessels had reportedly been conducting ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels or transporting North Korean coal in violation of United Nations sanctions imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.