Last Updated: April 1, 2003
Other Name: 제102호공장; Factory 102; July 7th Complex (7월7일연합기업소); Ŭndŏk-kun Chemical Factory (은덕군화학공장); 7.7 Complex
Location: July 7th Complex (7월7일연합기업소), in a mountainous village north of Ŭndŏk-kun, south of Songhak-ri (송학리), Songnimgol (송림골), Ŭndŏk-ŭp (은덕읍), Ŭndŏk-kun (은덕군), North Hamgyŏng Province (함경북도), North Korea
Subordinate To: July 7th Complex (7월7일연합기업소), 5th Machine Industry Bureau (제5기계산업총국), the Second Economic Committee (제2경제위원회)
Size: Approximately 200 employees. Around 50-100 are management personnel and 10-35 are technicians. There are approximately 120 political prisoners who are in charge of carrying out physically challenging and dangerous duties
Facility Status: Unknown

Details on this facility are mostly provided by defector Lee Ch'un Sŏn. According to Lee, ammonia (NH3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are delivered here via pipes from a separate Ŭndŏk chemical factory. Nitrogen dioxide is then mixed with sulfur dioxide (SO2), heated, and combusted with mercury. The product, its exact chemical formula unknown, is brought in sealed tanks and filled into glass bottles, presumably after being put under pressure. These glass vessels are then transported by helicopter to the No. 108 Factory in Kanggye, which produces artillery shells. Each projectile weighs about 46kg, and has a diameter of 255mm. This ordnance is "aimed at killing and wounding human beings through respiratory paralysis."

Construction of the No. 102 Factory began in 1989 under the supervision Major General Kim Man Nyŏn. Dr. Lee Yŏng Hŭi supervised the technical aspects of the facility's construction. Lee, daughter of Lee Sŏng Il, a famous North Korean scholar in applied chemistry, earned a doctorate in chemical engineering in Moscow. The staff consists of active duty soldiers but the technicians are presumed to be civilians. According to Lee Ch'un Sŏn, Major Lee Yŏng Paek was the facility's manager at least until the time of his defection, in 2001. Housing for staff and families are located about 3km south of the July 7th Complex, and workers ride a bus to get to the factory.

Ironically, while attempting to show it is involved in chemical weapons manufacture, Lee Ch'un Sŏn's very detailed testimony about the workings in the No. 102 Factory actually fails to substantiate allegations that the facility has any clear role in the production of CW agents. The chemical process explained by Lee is unrelated to any known CW agent. Sulfur and nitrogen oxides are well known as lung irritants; however, their effectiveness as battlefield gases (these agents would be in true gaseous form) would be insignificant. Lee Ch'un Sŏn is likely describing something closer to nitric acid production, or explosives manufacturing. For example, nitroglycerine is produced with nitric acid and sulfuric acid. The use of mercury is difficult to assess here, although some initiating explosives (fulminate of mercury) may also be produced at Factory 102.

Sources:
[1] "Pukhan Inmingun Changsŏnŭi Ch'unggyŏkjŭng'ŏn," Shindonga, August 2001, www.donga.com.
[2] Choi Yŏng Jae, "Miguk'ŭi Pukhan Saenghwahangmugi Appak Chŏllyak," Shindonga, January 2002, www.donga.com.
[3] Ch'oe Yong-chae, Shindonga, 1 January 2002, pp. 300-313, in "US Strategy Pressuring DPRK on Biological, Chemical Weapon," FBIS Doc ID: KPP20011220000016.
[4] Katsuhiro Kuroda, Sankei Shimbun, 10 June 2000, in "DPRK Manufactures Chemical Weapons," FBIS Document ID: JPP20000610000025.

Country Profile
Flag of North Korea
North Korea

This article provides an overview of North Korea's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →

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.