North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un could be using the Coronavirus crisis as a cover to develop a doomsday biological weapon, by claiming that raw materials they are sourcing will be used to develop a Coronavirus vaccine in North Korea, suspect U.S. weapons experts.
Andrew Weber, who was Assistant Secretary of Defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs during the Barack Obama presidency, said the North Korean dictator could use the "legitimate vaccine aspiration as a way" to boost biotechnology capability of the country, reported by Politico,
North Korea's Plan
Despite recent EU sanctions against several North Korean officials and agencies over Pyongyang's continued efforts to develop nuclear missiles and other weapons of mass destruction, the country shows no sign of giving up the nuclear arsenal.
Now, Weber fears that North Korea's plans on making a bioweapon may come true. He said 16 countries, including Russia, China, and Iran, are suspected of having bio-weapons. While all these countries are conducting research to find a COVID-19 vaccine, North Korea is the most bothering nation in terms of creating a bio-weapon instead, said Weber.
He explained that the most secretive country in the world has a history of ignoring the international weapons agreement. As per Weber, North Korea could buy equipment from Western or Chinese sources that "would be necessary for their vaccine effort, and then next year they could turn around and use it to produce biological weapons."
In 2019, while explaining his concerns over North Korea's motives, Weber told New York Times that Kim Jong Un is most likely to use the biological weapons than tanks and added that the "program is advanced, underestimated and highly lethal."
Apart from Weber, Bruce Bennett, a defense researcher at an American non-profit global policy think tank RAND Corporation, said the Coronavirus pandemic has given an opportunity for the North Korean regime.
He said anything related to the COVID-19 is going to be reviewed as humanitarian and "humanitarian things are not prohibited by sanctions...You have to get the item by item approval, but there have been lots of humanitarian shipments. Lots of stuff could be flowing in that."
In terms of the Coronavirus infections in the country, the regime declared a state of emergency after a person suspected of having crossed from South Korea tested COVID-19 positive but the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper of North Korea claimed that nobody has been infected with the Coronavirus so far in the country.
Bio-arms Operation Since the 1960s
It was in 1993 that the Russian intelligence agency reported that North Korea was performing military-biological research. It was also claimed that the country was studying pathogens for cholera, bubonic plague, malignant anthrax, and smallpox.
Former national security adviser John Bolton also said in 2002 that the U.S. government believes North Korea has "one of the most robust offensive bioweapons programs on Earth"
Recently Politico reported that North Korean defectors and U.S. intelligence revealed that Kim Jong Un's country has had a bio-arms operation since the 1960s.