North Korea: Biological Weapons:Written question - HL1522

Asked on: 16 July 2015
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
North Korea: Biological Weapons
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by 38 North that North Korea has the capacity to make anthrax; and what assessment they have made of claims by Im Cheon-Yong that anthrax and other biological agents have been tested on North Korean citizens, including disabled people.
Answered on: 29 July 2015

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a State Party to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Under the Convention it is prohibited from developing, producing and stockpiling biological and toxin weapons, which include anthrax. As a confidence building measure, States should submit annual returns to report implementation of the Convention, but the DPRK has only ever submitted one such return (in 1990). This makes it extremely difficult for the international community to have confidence that they are meeting their obligations under the Convention.

We are aware of claims by Im Cheon-Yong, a former DPRK Special Forces officer who defected in the mid-1990s. The UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in the DPRK considered this issue in their 2014 report but received no first-hand accounts. The Commission concluded it was not in a position to confirm these allegations, but noted them as subjects for further investigation.

Share this page