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Threats by Kim’s sister raises questions about North Korea’s bioweapons program

While Kim Yo-Jong’s official title is vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, she ranks at or near the top of the regime’s hierarchy.
FPI / August 25, 2022

Kim Yo-Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and a top official in the Pyongyang regime, accused South Korea of spreading Covid-19 to the North via balloons launched from the South.

In response, she essentially threatened to launch bio warfare on the South.

In a speech carried on North Korean state TV, Kim Yo-Jong said that, after having considered “various counteraction plans, our countermeasure must be a deadly retaliatory one.”

According to the 2018 Defense White Paper by South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, the North has an estimated stockpile of 2,500 to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, manufactured under a program that began in the 1980s.

“The North has the ability to produce traditional infectious biological warfare agents or toxins and biological weapons,” said a study produced two years ago by the Federation of American Scientists. “If North Korea did choose to employ biological weapons, it probably could use agents like anthrax, plague, or yellow fever against water and food supplies in the South's rear area.”

The non-profit Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington has estimated that North Korea “possesses a range of pathogen samples that could be weaponized, and the technical capabilities to do so, rather than deployed, ready-to-use biological weapons.”

Analysts said Kim Yo-Jong’s claims about the coronavirus entering the North via South Korean balloons could be seen as a domestic propaganda rather than a pretext for military escalation.

“Her remark suggests she and her brother are not only fed up with defectors from North Korea launching balloons from the South carrying anti-North propaganda but are determined to respond in kind. The logical answer to her claim that the South is sending the dread disease to the North, it’s feared, would be for North Korea to inflict diseases on the South,” Geostrategy-Direct Contributing Editor Donald Kirk wrote in an Aug. 13 analysis for The Daily Beast.

“If the enemy persists in such dangerous deeds as fomenting the inroads of virus into our Republic,” Pyongyang’s Korea Central News Agency quoted Kim Yo-Jong as saying, “we will respond to it by not only exterminating the virus but also wiping out the South Korean authorities.”

Were Kim Jong-Un, believed to be age 38, whose health is always open to question, to die or be incapacitated, his 34-year-old sister would inevitably be a leading possibility to succeed him, analysts say.

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FPI, Free Press International
kimsis by Jorge Silva is licensed under Pool Photo

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