1997 Congressional Hearings
Special Weapons
Nuclear, Chemical, Biological and Missile


 

                 North Korean Mass Destruction Weapons

                          PREPARED STATEMENT OF
                               JU-HWAL CHOI
                              FORMER OFFICIAL
                       MINISTRY OF THE PEOPLE'S ARMY
                              NORTH KOREA


                  NORTH KOREAN MISSILE PROLIFERATION
                                HEARING
                               before the
                SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL SECURITY,
                  PROLIFERATION, AND FEDERAL SERVICES
                                 of the
                              COMMITTEE ON
                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
                          UNITED STATES SENATE
                            OCTOBER 21 1997

    I am Choi Ju-hwal, I served in the Ministry of People's Army from 
1968 to 1995. I defected from m y post as Colonel and Chief of joint 
venture section of Yung-Seong Trading Company under the Ministry of 
People's Army. I would like to describe North Korean weapons of mass 
destruction.

    It is widely known in North Korea that North Korea produces, 
deploys and stockpiles two or three nuclear warheads and toxic material 
such as over 5,000 tons of toxic gas. It also developed and deployed 
rockets such as Nodong 1 and Nodong 2 with a range of 1,000 Km. The 
North Korean people know that the North is at the final stage of 
developing Taepodong rockets with a range of 5,000 Km. North Korea 
acquires powerful and destructive weaponry with political and military 
purposes in mind. By having the weapons, the North is able to prevent 
itself from being slighted by such major powers as the U.S., Russia, 
China and Japan and also to gain the upper hand in political 
negotiations and talks with them.

    On the military front, the North can deal a blow to the 40,000 U.S. 
forces stationed in the South and target the U.S. defense facilities 
and the Japanese defense facilities in Japan, thereby effectively 
destroying supply based in times of war. With the weaponry, the North 
can wreak havoc on the U.S., including Alaska, in a war where there is 
no victor nor loser. The 2nd Economic Committee, which is in charge of 
its defense industry, is run by the Party Central Committee. In the 
Party Central Committee, Secretary Chun Byung-ho is in charge of the 
defense industry and runs the Department of Machinery Industry. The 2nd 
Economic Committee is located in Kangdongkun of Pyongyang and consists 
of eight General Bureaus and one bureau, the 2nd National Science 
Institute, and one trading company for material. The 4th General Bureau 
and the 5th General Bureau produce rockets and chemical weapons.

production, deployment and sales of rockets (the 4th general bureau)

Production of Rockets

    Since the mid-197O's, the North has launched its effort to build 
rockets by itself. As part of the effort, the North built rocket 
factories for Scuds from the Soviet Union and began R&D activities for 
rocket production in the National Defense Institute in the Yongseung 
Area of Pyongyang. As a result, the North was able to produce SS 
rockets with a range of 250 to 300 Km by the end of 1980's. According 
to Vice Marshal and former First Deputy Minister of People's Armed 
Forces Kim Kwang-jin (Vice Marshal of Armed Equipment), the North 
succeeded in developing and producing rockets with a range of more than 
4,000 Km. He said that once the North develops rockets with a range of 
1,000 Km, it is not so difficult to develop rockets with a range of 
5,000 Km to over 10,000 Km. According to him, the range of rockets 
depends on propellants and fuel. This is what he mentioned when he 
visited China as the head of the North Korean military delegation.
Rocket Factories

    There are a number of rocket factories in North Korea. They include 
the ``125 Factory'', which is commonly referred to as ``Pyongyang Pig 
Factory,'' in the Hyengjesan Area of Pyongyang, the Number 26 Factory 
in Kangkye of Jakangdo, the Yakjeon Machinery Factory in Mankeyungdae 
and the 118 Factory in Kagamri, Kaecheon-kun in the southern province 
of Pyongahn.

    ``Pyongyang Pig Factory'' (Number 125 Factory) was open to the 
military delegation from Iran and Egypt. The delegation inspected 
rocket assembly line.

Rocket Deployment

    Since the North uses mostly mobile rocket launchers, not fixed 
ones, it is assumed that the North does not have fixed rocket 
launchers.

    However, as far as I know, there are intermediate range rocket 
bases in Sangwon-kun in Pyongyang and Hwadae-kun in the northern 
province of Hamkyung.

The Export of Missiles

    North Korea has been engaged in a plan to develop missiles jointly 
with Egypt. At the request of Egyptian President Mubarak, Kim Il-sung 
in the early 1980's transferred missile technology to Egypt and 
dispatched a group of North Korean experts to the country. The two 
countries seem to have maintained this relationship continuously. As a 
result, Egypt in the mid-1980s was successful in manufacturing 400 Km 
range surface-to-surface missiles. I confirmed this fact when I met the 
chief of the General Bureau of External Cooperation in the Second 
Economic Commission in his office located in Botonggang-kuyok in 
Pyongyang in 1989. That time I visited the office on a business related 
with Vice Marshal Choi Kung's scheduled tour of Egypt. Choi at that 
time was the chief of the General Staff of the People's Army. He was 
named the minister of Armed Forces later.

    North Korea has been exporting missiles to Iran since before the 
Iran-Iraq War. North Korea has exported a large amount of surface-to-
surface and surface-to-air missiles to Iran.

the production of chemical weapons (the 5th general bureau)

    The Hamhung Branch and three other institutes under the Second 
Natural Science Academy are responsible for research and production of 
chemical weapons, and seven factories scattered throughout the country 
are manufacturing these weapons as well as various anti-chemical 
equipment. The Germ Research Institute in the General Logistic Bureau 
of the Armed Forces Ministry is responsible for developing biological 
weapons.

    North Korea is currently producing various kinds of poison gas 
including nerve gas, blister gas, among others. These factories include 
the Kangye Chemical Factory in Jangang Province, the Sakju Chemical 
Factory in North Pyongan Province, the ``February 8'' Vinalon Factory 
in Hamhung, North Hamgyong Province, the Ilyong Branch of the Sunchon 
Vinalon Factory in South Pyongan Province, the Factory No. 297 in 
Pyongwon, South Pyongan Province. There are other chemical factories in 
Bongung, Hamhung City, South Hamgyong Province, Hyesan City Yanggang 
Province, and Kangye City, Jagang Province.

    Kim Jong-chan (major), who served as an assistant military attache 
at the North Korean Embassy in East Germany in late 1970's, is said to 
have obtained the technological data for manufacturing extremely 
poisonous gas from Germany. Based on this new technology, North Korea 
has begun to manufacture new kinds of poison gas since the mid-1980s.

    It is said that Dr. Li Sung-gi, who is known to have developed 
vinalon (a synthetic fiber made from limestone), have participated in 
the project to develop the new gas. Kim Joung-chan made a quick 
advancement, thanks to his achievement. He was promoted to the rank of 
colonel in 1984 and named the chief of the External Business Affairs 
Bureau, a position usually occupied by a general-grade officer, in the 
Armed Forces Ministry.

    The Chemical Bureau in the Armed Forces Ministry once boasted that 
North Korea had been able to complete the chemical warfare preparation, 
thanks to Kim Joung-chan.

    All officers, including general-grade officers, are obliged to 
participate in anti-nuclear and anti-chemical warfare training twice a 
year (in spring and autumn). During this training the experiments are 
conducted: a dog and a rabbit are put in separate glass tubes, 
respectively, and a poison gas is blown in, then these animals will die 
within 20 seconds. The gas bombs are designed to be delivered by rocket 
launchers or howitzer.

    Some Americans believe that even if North Korea possessed the 
ability to strike the U.S., it would never dare to because of the 
devastating response. But I do not agree with this idea. If a war 
breaks out in the Korean Peninsula, the North's main target will be the 
U.S. forces based in the South and Japan, which is the reason that the 
North has been working furiously on its missile programs. Kim Jong-il 
believes that if North Korea brings 20,000 American casualties in the 
region, it would win a war.