Aoji-ri Chemical Complex

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Last Updated: March 1, 2003
Other Name: 아오지리화학연합기업소; Aoji Chemical Factory; 아오지리 화학공장
Location: Near a lignite coal mine in Haksong-ri (학송리), Ŭndŏk-kun (은덕군), North Hamgyŏng Province (함경북도), North Korea
Subordinate To: 5th Machine Industry Bureau (제5기계산업총국), Second Economic Committee (제2경제위원회) for chemical weapons production; and the Ministry of Chemical Industry (화학공업성) for civilian production
Size: About 3,500 employees, of which about 20% is technicians or engineers; lignite coal processing capacity of 600,000 tons per year
Facility Status: Unknown

First built in 1937, this facility produces about 51 different products, including methane (35,000 tons per year), ammonia (26,000 tons per year), ammonium bicarbonate (100,000 tons per year), and coal tar derivatives (15,000 tons per year). Kim Wŏn Pong, director of the "Northeast Asia Research Institute" (北東亞問題硏究所) in Japan, and Eya Osamu, a Japanese journalist, have linked the Aoji-ri Chemical Complex with CW agent production. However, there is no strong evidence in the open source literature to corroborate claims of CW production at the Aoji-ri Chemical Complex. None of the known chemicals used or produced at the facility are direct precursors for CW agents.

Produces:

  • methanol
  • ammonia
  • ammonium bicarbonate
  • coal tar derivatives
  • liquid fuel products;
  • reported production of unspecified blood agents and vomiting agents

Sources:
[1] Kim Wŏn Pong, Kitachosenjimingun no zenbo (Tokyo: Ariadone Kikaku, 1996), p. 127;
[2] Kim Won-pong, Kitachosen jinmingun no zensho [sic] (Tokyo: Ariadone Kikaku, 1996), p. 127, in "DPRK Factories Suspected of Producing Chemical Agents," FBIS Document ID: KPP20010216000106;
[3] Osamu Eya, Kimu Jon Iru Daizukan (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 2000), pp. 64-65; Osamu Eya, Kimu Jon Iru Daizukan (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 2000), pp. 64-65, in "Alleged Locations of DPRK Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Warfare Facilities Mapped," 6 June 2001, FBIS Document ID: KPP20010606000075;
[4] Kim Yong Yun, Pukhan, December 1998, pp. 132-143, in "North Korean Chemical Industry," FBIS Document ID: FTS19981230001322;
[5] Chang Chun Ik, Pukhan Haek-Missile Chŏnjaeng (Seoul: Sŏmundang, 1999), pp. 360-364; North Korea Information Bank, "Aojihwahakkongjang," Hyundai Research Institute, 2000, www.nk-infobank.com;
[6] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., The Armed Forces of North Korea (New York: I. B. Tauris Publishers, 2001), p. 225.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.