US may have been testing anthrax at two other bases in South Korea

Posted on : 2015-06-19 08:56 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Last month a live anthrax sample arrived in S. Korea, and the US is still declining to answer questions about it
USFK units carrying out the JUPTR program (plan)
USFK units carrying out the JUPTR program (plan)

Allegations are surfacing that United States Forces Korea (USFK) anthrax testing has been conducted at bases in Gunsan, North Jeolla, and Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

USFK is currently facing criticisms after an episode last month in which a live anthrax sample was delivered for testing at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province.

The anthrax tests are part of USFK’s Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition (JUPITR) program. New revelations show that USFK laboratories running the program exist not only at Osan and Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, but also in Gunsan and Pyeongtaek.

The group Citizens’ Association for Reclaiming the Kunsan US Military Base as South Korean Land revealed the findings at a press conference on June 17 in front of Kunsan Air Base.

The association also called for the US to “immediately stop its biological and chemical warfare response training and close its biological agent research centers.”

The US National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) quotes US Army Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) deputy chief of staff Daniel McCormick as listing four locations of USFK JUPITR program laboratories during a May 7 forum on chemical and biological warfare response capabilities. In addition to Yongsan Garrison and Osan Air Base, the list also included Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek and Kunsan Air Base.

JPEO-CBD operates the JUPTR program through USFK as a component of the US military’s global strategy on chemical and biological defense and as a response to the North Korean biological and chemical weapons threat.

Previous data released by NDIA in 2013 mentioned Yongsan and Osan as housing JUPITR program laboratories, with testing on anthrax and botulinum, as well as three environmental laboratories at unspecified located under the US Army Public Health Command.

The new information raises the number of USFK bases where the JUPITR program is being carried out to four, raising questions over whether the program has been expanded in the past two years as a measure against possible biological or chemical warfare in Korea.

In late May, USFK was conducting experiments for the JUPITR program at Osan Air Base with anthrax samples brought into South Korea by FedEx. On May 27, it received notification that the sample was live, prompting it to carrying out an immediate shutdown, it reported.

Anthrax is considered one of the leading bacterial agents in biological weapons. A low-altitude release of 100 kg in a large city would be enough to kill one to three million people.

Despite the criticisms from civic groups, the USFK has maintained the official position that it will not answer questions about the anthrax delivery case until the investigation is over.

 

By Kim Ji-hoon, staff reporter

 

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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