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North Korea said to have chemical- and biological-weapons capabilities

SEOUL, South Korea -- Hard-line communist North Korea has large amounts chemical weapons on hand, with the capacity to produce tons more each year, a South Korean intelligence report said Friday.

The Agency for National Security Planning, South Korea's equivalent of the CIA, estimated North Korea can annually produce 5,500 tons of chemical weapons, as well as 2,200 pounds of biological weapons.

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'North Korea has pursued biological and chemical weapons which can be produced in large quantities at low cost, fearing that its economic slump (will) restrict allocation of resources, (and) force it to lose its military superiority,' the agency report said.

The ANSP said North Korea is able to stockpile several kinds of chemical and biological weapons, with delivery systems ranging from guerrillas and secret agents to grenades, mortars, fieldguns, Scud and Frog missiles, naval ships, plans and helicopters.

The spy agency added that North Korea currently has six chemical- weapons storage centers, each outfitted with a stockpile of 1,000 tons of material -- a portion of which the military keeps in the payloads of artillery pieces.

The report said North Korea may try to use biological and chemical weapons as leverage in international negotiations, as well as in talks with South Korea.

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