North Korea ‘will have 100 nukes by end of the year’
North Korea's terrifying stockpile of nuclear weapons could include up to 100 bombs by the end of this year, alongside thousands of tons of chemical weapons including anthrax and smallpox, according to reports.
This would make Pyongyang's weapons stockpile one of the biggest and most dangerous in the world.
The US Department of the Army headquarters made the assessment in its recent report, titled "North Korean tactics," saying Pyongyang is unlikely to give up the weapons in its bid to prevent a regime change, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported.
"Estimates for North Korean nuclear weapons range from 20-60 bombs, with the capability to produce 6 new devices each year," the US Army said, noting that some reports state that the rogue regime could obtain as many as 100 by the end of 2020.
"North Korea sought nuclear weapons because its leaders thought the threat of a nuclear attack would prevent other countries from contemplating a regime change," the US military said.
The report also pointed out that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un witnessed the case of Libya's Moammar Gaddafi and "does not want something similar to happen in North Korea."
"External powers intervened in Libya when the domestic revolts began in 2011," the report said.
It is "highly likely" that North Korea's military would "use chemical artillery shells," it said.
"North Korea possibly has weaponized anthrax or smallpox that could be mounted on missiles for use" against South Korea, the US and Japan, the report said.
The New York Post said a kilogram of anthrax could kill up to 50,000 people in South Korea's capital, Seoul, home to some 10 million people.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang oversees electronic warfare operations under the Cyber Warfare Guidance Unit, more commonly known as Bureau 121, with over 6,000 computer hackers working internationally to gather intelligence, disable enemy networks and commit financial crimes.
"North Korea can successfully conduct invasive computer warfare activities from the safety of its own territory," the report said. "It has the distributed ability to reach targeted computers anywhere in the world, as long as they are connected to the internet."
Negotiations between North Korea and the US on Pyongyang's nuclear programs have been stalled since February 2019 when the second summit between President Trump and Kim broke down in Hanoi.
Meanwhile, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has ordered pet dogs to be confiscated in the country's capital, saying the pooches represent Western "decadence'' - but their owners fear their pets are being used to feed the starving population.
Kim issued the directive in July to round up the pets, claiming they were part of "a 'tainted' trend by bourgeois ideology,'' a source told the English edition of Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper.
"Ordinary people raise pigs and livestock on their porches, but high-ranking officials and the wealthy own pet dogs, which stoked some resentment'' among the lower classes, the source said.
"Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down.''
But while the oppressive regime says the move is to clamp down on capitalist extravagance in Pyongyang, the dog owners are fearful that given North Korea's food shortage - and propensity for eating dog meat - the directive has only come about to feed the masses.
The dog owners are "cursing Kim Jong-un behind his back," but otherwise, their hands are tied, the source lamented.
Originally published as North Korea 'will have 100 nukes by end of the year'