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Defense Ministry distributes guidelines on bioterrorism

The Ministry of National Defense has distributed its first guidelines on the military’s response to potential biological terror attacks by North Korea, a lawmaker said Friday.

Rep. Song Young-sun of the ruling Saenuri Party said the ministry handed out the guidelines from late last year to early this year. About 130 pages long, the guidelines cover the armed forces’ response to bioterrorism at different echelons and swift medical support in the aftermath, Song added.

The guidelines also detail characteristics of bioterrorism agents such as anthrax, plagues and smallpox and the way different military units should handle infections.

The ministry has four warning stages for bioterrorism. The color blue signifies “guarded,” and proceeds to yellow (elevated), orange (high) and red (severe).

South Korea believes North Korea possesses 13 toxic agents in large quantities and their special forces and airplanes could carry out bioterrorism attacks. South Korea only has vaccines for smallpox and cholera.

Experts have said if North Korea releases 10 kilograms of anthrax in Seoul, up to half of the city’s more than 10 million residents would be killed within 10 days.

“North Korea’s biological agents are asymmetrical weapons that can cause overwhelming chaos and damage, and we need to quickly develop additional vaccines,” Song said. “Under the new North Korean leadership of Kim Jong-un, things could change suddenly on the peninsula. We have to be fully prepared for bioterrorism and other sorts of threats.” 

(Yonhap News)
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