North Korea’s ‘Nuclear Backpacks’ Suspected of Being Foam Boards

By Xie Dongyan
Xie Dongyan
Xie Dongyan
August 9, 2013 Updated: August 9, 2013

“A Chinese netizen believes that the “nuclear backpacks” featured in a North Korean parade were likely filled with foam boards that came from a factory in China.”
Troops carrying backpacks marked with the symbol for radioactivity at a Pyongyang military parade aroused attention, and also some concern. A Chinese netizen says those nuclear backpacks were likely filled with foam boards that came from a factory in China.

A military parade was held in Kim Il Sung Square in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on July 27 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. The event prominently featured a unit of troops carrying backpacks marked with the symbol for radioactivity, initially raising concerns that the troops were carrying nuclear weapons, reported the Chosun Ilbo.

However, an unnamed South Korean military source has said that it was extremely unlikely that the backpacks contained actual nuclear weapons. “They (North Korea) probably just want to show that they have completed operational deployment of their nuclear weapons, and have troops capable of deploying them,” the source said. The same unit had previously appeared in a military parade last year wearing the same outfits, but did not carry the marked backpacks then.

On July 29, a Chinese netizen said that he had learned from a friend, who worked at Hunan Golden Peacock Plastics Co., that an ethnic Korean trader from Liaoning Province (in far northeastern China, Liaoning borders North Korea) had ordered 500 rectangular foam boards from the firm at “a pretty high price.”

Each of the boards was molded with a bump on it, and their eventual purpose was unclear. Having seen footage of the North Korean military parade, his friend said that he thought the “nuclear backpacks” looked very similar in size and shape to those foam boards.

The Korean trader had taken away the mold, the friend said, or he could have made replicas of the boards to show him, since they could be produced very cheaply.

Another netizen commented that, judging from pictures of the parade, the “nuclear backpacks” appeared to exert very little weight on the backs of the troops. Had they been actual nuclear weapons, the backpacks should have been much heavier.

Read the original Chinese article.

Xie Dongyan
Xie Dongyan