Friday, 23 March, 2018

Korea has used chemical weapons

Melissa Porter | 03 March, 2018, 05:56

"As had been elucidated several times, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea does not have a single record of developing, producing and stockpiling a chemical weapon", the spokesperson said while dismissing the unreleased United Nations study.

North Korea has dismissed reports of its cooperation with Syria over nuclear weapons, saying such claims are mere USA fabrications meant to put more pressure on Pyongyang and justify the American military intervention in Syria.

The notice also included five sanctions which would typically accompany such an announcement, including cutting foreign and financial aid, ending military support and export restrictions on sensitive goods.

The U.N. request coincided with the United States imposing its largest package of unilateral sanctions against North Korea on Friday, intensifying pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programmes. It says North Korea has never developed chemical weapons and the country opposes them.

North Korea is also widely suspected of assassinating Kim Jong Nam - the half-brother of DPRK leader Kim Jong UN - with a deadly nerve agent in Malaysia a year ago.

Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, there have been suspicions the North was providing components and expertise to maintain Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons program.

The State Department's notification comes less than 24 hours after North Korea denied the findings from a soon to be released UN Panel of Experts (PoE) report which found the DPRK sent shipments to Syria's chemical weapons agency.

Experts said the death of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 past year is the only confirmed North Korean use of chemical weapon agents.

Syria signed up to the global ban on chemical weapons in 2013, as part of a deal brokered by Moscow to avert United States air strikes in retaliation for a nerve gas attack that killed hundreds of people, which Washington blamed on Damascus.

Robert Wood, a U.S. disarmament ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, said on Wednesday that there has been a history of a relationship between the two countries with regard to missile activity, chemical weapons components.