Washington - the deadliest weapon in history by weight is not a nuclear weapon, but a biological one. A gallon of anthrax, if properly distributed, could cause the extinction of humans on earth.
Even so, the trump administration has paid little attention to north Korea's development of biological weapons - a threat that analysts say is more urgent than north Korea's nuclear weapons. Pyongyang and Washington have been discussing nuclear weapons for more than six months.
According to an analysis released last month by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, north Korea is working with foreign researchers to learn biotechnology skills and build machinery. The country's armed forces have rapidly increased.
根据明德大学蒙特雷国际研学院(Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey)上月发布的一份分析报告，朝鲜正在与外国研究人员合作，学习生物技术技能并建造机械装置。该国武力由此得到迅速提高。
North Korea is far more likely to use biological weapons than nuclear weapons, said Andrew c. Weber, the pentagon official in charge of nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs under President barack Obama. "It's an advanced, underrated, killer program."
“朝鲜使用生物武器的可能性远远大于核武器，”在贝拉克·奥巴马执政期间负责核、化学和生物国防项目的五角大楼官员安德鲁·C·韦伯(Andrew C. Weber)说。“这是个先进的、被低估的、杀伤力极大的项目。”
North Korea may wish to counter with devastating bacteria as a threat, as a way to fend off aggression. If so, its biological weapons would be a powerful deterrent.
But experts also worry about aggressive attacks and highly lethal agents, especially the smallpox virus, which spreads from person to person and kills a third of its victims. North Korea, long suspected by experts as a breeding ground for the disease, announced in 1980 that it had eradicated the disease from its population.
Worse, satellite images and Internet censorship of north Korea suggest Pyongyang has recently taken an interest in biotechnology and bacterial research, analysts say. In 2015, north Korean state media broadcast footage of the country's leader, Kim jong-un, visiting a biological factory, echoing his nuclear propaganda.
But there are many troubling differences between biological threats and conventional weapons: germs are produced on a much smaller scale and are far cheaper to make than nuclear weapons. Deadly microbes may look like harmless ingredients in vaccines and farm produce. And biological weapons are hard to detect, track and control.
North Korea's high level of secrecy makes the threat, and its development in the country, difficult to assess. Right now, north Korea may have no biological weapons at all -- just research, samples, human tests, and the ability to rush into industrial production.
Still, Anthony h. Cordesman, a former pentagon intelligence official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said north Korea had "made significant progress" in all the areas of technology needed to build a large Arsenal of bacterial weapons.
尽管如此，前五角大楼情报官员、现就职于战略与国际研究中心(Center for Strategic and International Studies)的安东尼·H·科德斯曼(Anthony H. Cordesman)表示，朝鲜在制造一个大型细菌武器库所需的所有技术领域“都取得了重大进展”。
In some unclassified reports, the trump administration has made vague references to north Korea's biological weapons program. President Donald trump did not mention biological weapons during his meeting with Kim jong-un in Singapore, according to us officials.
In the last century, most of the countries that made biological weapons considered them impractical and gave up. Capricious winds could bring deadly viruses back to the users, infecting their military and civilians. The United States gave up its biological weapons stockpile in 1969.
But today, analysts say, the genetic revolution could make bacterial weapons more attractive. They found that pathogens designed to spread faster, infect more people, resist treatment and provide better targeting and containment. If so, north Korea may already be at the forefront.
A south Korean military white paper has identified at least 10 facilities in the north that may be involved in the research and production of more than a dozen biological agents, including those that can cause plague and hemorrhagic fever.
Several north Korean defectors tested positive for smallpox antibodies, suggesting they had either been exposed to the deadly virus or vaccinated, according to a report from the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
哈佛大学肯尼迪学院贝尔福科学与国际事务中心(Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs)的报告显示，几名朝鲜叛逃军人的天花抗体检测呈阳性，表明他们要么接触过这种致命病毒，要么接种过疫苗。
Smallpox killed 500 million people before it was declared eradicated. Today, the virus no longer exists and few people have been vaccinated against it.
Starting three years ago, Amplyfi, a strategic intelligence firm, saw a sharp increase in searches on north Korean networks for "antibiotic resistance", "microbial dark matter", "cas protein" and similar esoteric terms, indicating a growing interest in advanced genetic and bacterial research.
According to the monterey institute's analysis, at least 100 research papers written jointly by north Korean and foreign scientists are related to military purposes, such as developing weapons of mass destruction. Such cooperation could violate international sanctions.
Joseph s. Bermudez Jr., a north Korean military analyst, said it was entirely possible that the country had conducted gene-editing experiments that could enhance bacteria and viruses.
朝鲜军事分析人士小约瑟夫·S·贝穆德兹(Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.)说，朝鲜完全有可能已经进行了可以增强细菌和病毒的基因编辑实验。
These people are scientists, and scientists like to think, he said.
In June 2015, Mr. Kim, dressed in a white lab coat, posed for a photo with military officers and scientists outside a modern-looking pesticide development facility called the institute of biotechnology. Since then, western concerns about north Korea's research and development program have grown rapidly.
The factory is said to produce insecticides. The photos show huge fermentation tanks used for microbial growth and spray dryers that turn bacterial spores into fine powder that can be inhaled. Kim jong UN was beaming.
Melissa Hanham, the academic who first identified the potential threat to the facility, said the device model suggested that north Korea acquired the machines by evading sanctions - laundering money, setting up front companies or bribing people to buy them on the black market.
She said there was evidence that north Korea had succeeded in building a seemingly harmless agricultural factory that could be repurported to produce dried anthrax spores in a matter of weeks.
In 2001, a teaspoon of anthrax packed in several envelopes killed five people, sickened 17 and sparked a nationwide scare after a biological weapons attack in the United States. The spores shut down congressional offices, the Supreme Court and much of the postal system, costing about $320 million to clean up.
The federal biological weapons defense budget, which increased sharply after the attack, has declined in recent years.
Still, on the Korean peninsula, U.S. forces are preparing for a north Korean attack. According to the belfort center, U.S. forces in South Korea have been vaccinated against smallpox and anthrax since 2004.
Army engineers recently accelerated the detection of biological agents from days to hours through Project Jupitr, or Joint U.S. Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition, a defense department spokesman said.
美国国防部一名发言人说，最近，陆军工程人员通过朱庇特计划(Project Jupitr)，即“联合美国驻韩部队门户与集成威胁识别计划”(Joint U.S. Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition)，将探测生物制剂的时间从几天加快到几个小时。
At the request of the house armed services committee, the comptroller general is currently conducting a review of military preparedness for bacterial attacks.
If your country is far outclassed in conventional weapons, Mr. Hannam said. Lethal organisms like anthrax seem to be a good way to "do a lot of damage."
She said such attacks would maximize casualties and threaten the uninfected population. For north Korea, she added, "that would be killing two birds with one stone."