|Last Updated:||April 1, 2003|
|Other Name:||제279호공장; Factory No. 297; No. 297 Research Institute|
|Location:||Sŏg'am-ri (석암리), P'yŏng'wŏn-kun (평원군), South P'yŏng'an Province (평안남도), North Korea|
|Subordinate To:||Nuclear Chemical Defense Bureau (핵화학방위국), General Staff Department (인민군총참모부), Ministry of People's Armed Forces (인민무력부)|
*Factory No. 279 is reportedly located near the No. 398 Research Institute.
Description: The No. 279 Factory reportedly produces equipment developed by the No. 398 Research Institute, which is located nearby. Defector Choe Ju Hwal has testified that a No. 279 [sic] Factory [among others] produces poison gas including nerve gas and blister gas, among others. However, in a subsequent interview, Choe admitted that he did not work directly with WMD or WMD-related tasks, and that he has no direct information about North Korea's WMD or ballistic missile programs.
Another defector, Yi Chung Kuk, has diagrammed the locations of Factory No. 279 and the No. 398 Research Institute as below in the "Sŏg'am-ri Recruit Training Center Facilities." The 18th Nuclear Chemical Defense Battalion (第18核化學防衛大隊)-of which Yi Chung Kuk was formerly a member in the early 1990s--is also located nearby the aforementioned facilities.
 Yi Ch'ung Kuk, "Assignment to Antinuclear/Antiatomic Analysis Team," in the book "Kim Chong-il's Nuclear Weapons and Army," Kin Seinichi no Kaku to Guntai in Japanese, 21 September 1994, pp. 101-10;
 Chang Chun Ik, Pukhan Haek-Missile Chŏnjaeng (Seoul: Sŏmundang, 1999), pp. 359-360;
 Sŏn Chong Ku, "Puk Haekhwahakpang'wiguk: Haeksaenghwahangmugi Ch'ongjihwi," Segye Ilbo, 21 May 1997, p. 17, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr;
 Interview with Ch'oe Ju Hwal by CNS analyst Daniel A. Pinkston, 9 April 2001, Seoul;
 Prepared statement by Ju-Hwal Choi, former official, Minister of the People's Army, North Korea, "North Korean Mass Destruction Weapons," hearing on North Korean missile proliferation, before the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services, Committee on Governmental Affairs, US Senate, 21 October 1997, www.fas.org.