Seoul Must Be Told of Bio-Warfare Training on Its Soil

      May 29, 2015 12:54

      The U.S. Forces Korea said Thursday that a U.S. military lab in Utah accidentally shipped live samples of anthrax to a lab at an air base in Osan south of Seoul. It claimed the samples were destroyed as soon as it was notified by headquarters that they were lively samples of the deadly biological weapon.

      Anthrax has a 50 to 90 percent fatality rate. The bacteria can be transmitted by air or through food. Anthrax spores are strong enough to survive for more than 10 years in the soil. That is why there is a ban on the transport of samples. But the U.S. military failed to abide by the basic rules. 

      North Korea is believed to have 5,000 tons of biological weapons for use in bio-warfare against South Korea, so the USFK is justified in training to defend itself. The problem is that the South Korean government was oblivious to the entry of such a deadly substance. The U.S. has said it did not need to inform Seoul since it only brought in dead anthrax samples and the government did not object.

      But mistakes happen, and anthrax is not the only biological weapon in use. Any accident could have catastrophic consequences for South Korea.

      The latest incident should serve as an opportunity for the government here and the U.S. military to put a proper system in place for the handling of all biological weapons. The government already has strict regulations on biological and chemical weapon materials for South Koreans, and it must insist the U.S forces here follows suit and keeps it informed at every stage of the process.
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