Tags: Coronavirus | north korea | covid vaccine | biological weapons

Experts Fear NKorea Using COVID Vaccine as Cover For Biological Weapons

kim jong-un is seen
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Bredan Smialowski/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 July 2020 03:02 PM

Experts increasingly believe that North Korea could be using the coronavirus crisis to seek technology for biological weapons, Politico reported on Wednesday.

“They could buy equipment from Western or Chinese sources that would be necessary for their vaccine effort [against the coronavirus], and then next year they could turn around and use it to produce biological weapons, ” according to Andrew Weber, who was assistant secretary of Defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs during the Obama administration.

Imports into North Korea are usually hampered by international sanctions, but “anything coronavirus-related is going to be viewed as humanitarian and humanitarian things are not prohibited by sanctions,” said Bruce Bennett, a defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. 

Experts point out that, in just one example of dual use technology, the fermenters used to manufacture certain vaccines can also be used to produce anthrax.

Weber said he feared the Pyongyang is “more likely to use a biological weapon against us than a nuclear weapon ...You’d only need small amounts to kill thousands, tens of thousands of people.”

Weber also pointed out that “Our fumbling of the response [to COVID-19] just advertises to the world how vulnerable we are to biological attacks. So countries that have been thinking about pursuing biological weapons or that have small programs might see the opportunity.”

One solution to this problem, Weber said, is that if countries can perfect early warning systems and vaccine technology, “countries pursuing biological weapons would decide it wasn’t worth it --  that they won’t be effective because the defenses against them are so good.”

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Experts increasingly believe that North Korea could be using the coronavirus crisis to seek technology for biological weapons, Politico reported on Wednesday.
north korea, covid vaccine, biological weapons
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2020-02-29
Wednesday, 29 July 2020 03:02 PM
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