The South Korean government is preparing medical countermeasures to aid potential victims of a biological or chemical strike launched by North Korea, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday (see GSN, Sept. 19).
Seoul today does not possess vaccines against the use of disease agents by Pyongyang, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told lawmakers on Friday. He said that vulnerability would not continue for long.
"Since the project costs a lot of money, we haven't settled on the exact date on when we can develop vaccines," Kim said. "But once they're developed, there should be no major problem."
Anthrax vaccines have been readied for U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea. Civilian health agencies also possess medical countermeasures, according to Kim.
North Korea holds as much as 5,000 tons of chemical warfare materials and can produce anthrax, smallpox and cholera, the South Korean Defense Ministry says (Yonhap News Agency, Oct. 7).