North Korea has capability to mass produce chemical weapons, expert says

Officials with the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses have said that they believe that North Korea has the ability to produce up to 12,000 tons of chemical weapons.

In a recent report, Korea Institute for Defense Analyses Kwon Yang-Joo said this capability could cause unprecedented civilian casualties in South Korea, AFP reports. Amidst concerns over North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Yang-Joo told AFP that the North Korea's chemical weapons stockpile is South Korea’s number one security priority.

“The international community must show its strong will in seeking disarmament of North Korea's chemical weapons along with its denuclearization,” Yang-Joo told AFP.

South Korea Defense Ministry officials estimate that North Korea possess approximately 2,500 to 5,000 tons of mustard gas, blood agents and nerve gas, according to the AFP report. Yang-Joo said North Korea could easily manufacture up to 12,000 tons of chemical weapons that could be deliverable by aircraft, missiles or artillery shells.

Yang-Joo estimated that 5,000 tons of chemical agents could contaminate 950 square miles, an area that is about four times the size of Seoul. He also said that if North Korea was to use all of its chemical stockpile at once, it would have the ability to produce upwards of 1.25 million chemical bombs, AFP reports.