The Yomiuri Shimbun Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned that North Korea could launch missiles mounted with chemical weapons.
“North Korea may already have the ability to deliver missiles with warheads containing sarin nerve gas,” Abe said at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the House of Councillors on Thursday.
Mounting a chemical weapon on a missile is considered to be easier than mounting a nuclear warhead on one because of the significant level of technology required to miniaturize nuclear devices.
Abe stressed at the committee the necessity to step up pressure on North Korea, saying, “It is a reality that [North Korea] has not stopped developing missiles and nuclear weapons, but has strengthened its ability instead.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference the same day: “[North Korea] has been running several facilities capable of producing chemical weapons. It already seems to have a substantial number of them.”
The government held a four-minister meeting of the National Security Council — consisting of the prime minister, the chief cabinet secretary and the foreign and defense ministers — at the Prime Minister’s Office the same day. They confirmed they would make every effort to be on guard for any provocations by North Korea.
North Korea started producing chemical weapons in the 1980s and has stockpiled various types of chemical weapons, amounting to between 2,500 and 5,000 tons, according to the South Korean government’s estimate.
The U.S. Defense Department also pointed out in a report released last year on North Korea’s military capability that North Korea could use chemical weapons by mounting them on modified artilleries and ballistic missiles.Speech