As tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula due to North Korean nuclear tests, missile launches and South Korean military exercises with U.S. forces, a source says the North Korean military has started to arm certain North Korean soldiers with nuclear backpacks. The report cannot be independently verified but fits within a pattern of North Korean escalation to achieve its political goals, reports Radio Free Asia.
Special units have been formed since March to carry the weapons and had been taking part in simulated training exercises with dummy bombs. “Outstanding soldiers were selected from each reconnaissance platoon and light infantry brigade to form the nuclear backpack unit the size of a battalion,” the source from North Hamgyong province was quoted as saying.
The supposed weapons were said to weigh between 10 and 30 kilograms and be able to “spray radioactive material,” possibly uranium, on the enemy. North Korean propaganda showed soldiers wearing rucksacks bearing a yellow and black radiation symbol during a parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the national Workers’ Party in October, while similar backpacks were seen at a procession in 2013.
These reports come as North Korea announced it had executed a senior official for “showing disrespect.” Apparently North Korean Kim Jong-un did not like the way the man was sitting at a recent event and gave the order to have him killed by firing squad.