Kim Jong Nam’s Murder Raises Questions of North Korea’s Chemical Weapons

Monday, February 27, 2017
By Paul Martin

Reports that Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was assassinated using the VX nerve agent, classified as a weapon of mass destruction, has given a new dimension to the mysterious murder, sparking questions on whether Pyongyang has a chemical weapons program complementing its nuclear and missile efforts.

The South Korean Armed Forces are said to maintain that the reclusive state has accumulated 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, including sarin, sulfur mustard, tabun and hydrogen cyanide. If true, it would mean that Pyongyang has one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world.

Political analyst Dmitry Verkhoturov, an expert on North Korea, has warned against jumping to conclusions based on an isolated incident.

The fact that Kim Jong Nam could have been killed with VX “cannot be used as evidence that North Korea has chemical weapons since a lethal dose of this nerve agent is only 100 micrograms or 0.0001 grams per kilogram of body mass,” he pointed out. “Such a small dose of this chemical substance could have been acquired in a laboratory.”

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