North Korea has begun tests to load anthrax onto intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), an intelligence source in Seoul, South Korea told The Asahi Shimbun Wednesday.
The Shimbun’s source said that North Korea is conducting heat and pressure resistance trials to gauge whether anthrax germs can survive at specific temperatures.
ICBMs re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, they continued, encounter temperatures of 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
The Shimbun’s source added that North Korea is likely trying to create ICBMs loaded with anthrax due to the capabilities of its nuclear-tipped version.
Pyongyang’s nuclear-tipped ICBMs, they noted, may not have reached the level where they can strike the entire U.S. mainland.
The Shimbun reported that the U.S. has come to the same conclusion about North Korea’s anthrax experiments.
The outlet additionally reported that an unconfirmed intelligence report states that North Korea had already succeeded in such tests.
The White House on Monday said in President Trump’s national security strategy that North Korea is seeking “nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland.”
A former U.S. government official on Wednesday told The Shimbun that Washington, D.C. has long known that North Korea is culturing anthrax.
The official noted that that knowledge is the rationale behind why U.S. troops in South Korea have been vaccinated against anthrax and smallpox since roughly 2004.
The U.S. and South Korea conducted their first joint map exercise to deal with a terror attack involving biological weapons in 2011.
Anthrax is a bacterial infection that has been developed as a biological weapon by a number of nations.
North Korea has long vowed to develop ICBMs and nuclear weapons capable of striking the mainland U.S.
Trump has repeatedly warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un against that goal this year, while pressuring China to help manage the situation.