North Korea has large chemical weapons stockpile, claims S. Korea
Malaysian police said traces of a nerve agent listed as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations were detected on swabs from the face and eyes of Kim Jong-Nam, who was poisoned at Kuala Lumpur's international airport last week.
South Korean experts on Friday claimed that North Korea has up to 5,000 tonnes of chemical weapons including the toxin used to assassinate its leader's half-brother.
Malaysian police on Friday, according to Agence France-Presse, said traces of VX, a nerve agent listed as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations, were detected on swabs from the face and eyes of Kim Jong-Nam, who was poisoned at Kuala Lumpur's international airport last week.
The news wire report said Malaysian detectives are holding three people -- women from Indonesia and Vietnam, and a North Korean man -- but want to speak to seven others, four of whom are believed to have fled to Pyongyang.
South Korea's defence ministry said in its 2014 Defence White Paper that the North began producing chemical weapons in the 1980s and estimated that it has about 2,500 to 5,000 tonnes in stock.
In the 2012 edition of the document, it said North Korea has chemical weapons production facilities in eight locations including the northeastern port of Chongjin and the northwestern city of Sinuiju.
"North Korea is believed to have a large stockpile of VX, which can easily be manufactured at low cost," defence analyst Lee Il-Woo at the private Korea Defence Network told the news wire.
Developed some 100 years ago, VX can be produced at small laboratories or facilities producing pesticides, he added.