A new assessment made by the United States Department of the Army estimates that the North Korean regime is in possession of massive amounts of conventional and non-conventional weapons that they are “highly likely” to use in specific circumstances, according to the Yonhap News Agency.
The assessment was published in a report entitled “North Korean Tactics,” and attributes North Korea’s huge armaments program to a desire to “prevent other countries from contemplating regime change.” Apparently, Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, took note of what happened to his Libyan counterpart Muammar Gaddafi and “does not want something similar to happen” to him. (Gaddafi was killed by rebel Libyan forces, after a multi-national force including NATO countries attacked Libya with the stated goal of imposing an arms embargo, sanctions, and an assets freeze against regime leaders.)
According to the report, North Korea already has between 20 and 60 nuclear bombs and “the capacity to produce six new devices each year.” It also boasts the world’s third-largest stockpile of chemical weapons – between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of various substances – and is engaged in research into biological warfare as well. “Only one kilogram of anthrax could kill up to 50,000 people in Seoul,” the capital of South Korea, the report’s authors note.
Another ongoing source of concern is North Korea’s Cyber Warfare Guidance Unit, which employs over 6,000 computer hackers who “can successfully conduct invasive computer warfare activities from the safety of its own territory.” North Korean operatives are known to already be operating in several foreign countries including Belarus, China, India, Malaysia, and Russia.
Negotiations between the United States and North Korea broke down entirely following an unproductive summit between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in February, 2019.