US Intelligence Raises Concerns Over North Korea’s Chemical Weapons Usage

A new report from U.S. intelligence, published on Monday, has highlighted concerns over North Korea’s use of chemical weapons, along with other threats presented by the reclusive nation.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has compiled an annual worldwide threat assessment report, which provides insights into the recent actions and movements of nations that pose a threat to the United States. The report delves into the activities of countries like China and Russia, highlighting their antagonistic stance towards the U.S. It also sheds light on various types of attacks, such as nuclear strikes and cyber attacks, and provides an analysis of their current state.

The report included various details about North Korea, a highly secluded and autocratic country in East Asia infamous for its frequent threats towards South Korea and the United States. Interestingly, the report highlighted North Korea’s utilization of chemical weapons and explored their potential applications beyond traditional “state-on-state military operations,” as well as their possible future development.

According to the report, there is a potential for an increase in the use of chemical weapons, especially outside of traditional military conflicts. The past decade has seen instances where both state and non-state actors have employed chemical warfare agents in various situations. For example, the Syrian military used chlorine and sarin against opposition groups and civilians, while North Korea and Russia utilized chemical agents for targeted assassinations. It is possible that more state actors may resort to chemical weapons in operations against dissidents, defectors, and individuals perceived as enemies of the state. Furthermore, they could employ such tactics against protestors to suppress domestic unrest, or even target their own civilian or refugee populations.

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Foreign defense experts were contacted by Newsweek via email on Monday evening for additional insights. Any responses received will be incorporated into this story in a later update.

According to the report, North Korea and Kim will actively pursue partnerships with important foreign allies in order to achieve economic stability, ensure security, and gain global acceptance as a nuclear power. The report highlights that these goals have been hindered by both the stringent UN sanctions imposed for almost two decades and the self-imposed COVID-19 lockdown.

According to the report, North Korea is currently seeking closer relationships with China and Russia in order to enhance its economic benefits, gain diplomatic support, and strengthen defense cooperation. The report also suggests that Kim Jong-un is unlikely to negotiate the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program, as he sees it as crucial for the regime’s security and national pride. Moreover, Kim may be aiming to leverage his growing defense ties with Russia to gain global recognition as a nuclear power.

According to the report, North Korea has been supplying munitions to Russia for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Arms Control Association, as of January 2023, North Korea possessed an estimated 30 nuclear warheads, with the capability to produce an additional 50-70 warheads using the materials at their disposal.

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