A former South Korean soldier testified for the first time Monday that from its aircraft, the U.S. military sprayed a defoliant over the Demilitarized Zone in 1955 ― more than a decade earlier than news media recently reported.
“It was in 1955 when I was working at the 15th Army Division (in Cheolwon, Gangwon Province) ― one year after I joined the military. The U.S. military mobilized its choppers and other aircraft and sprayed defoliant three to four times a month over the DMZ,” Eum Do-nam, 77, told reporters.
According to U.S. government documents released to media, the U.S. began research to develop defoliants during World War II.
In 1952, it developed Agent Purple and airborne equipment to spray it, intending to use them in the Korean War. News reports said the government documents show the U.S. used an herbicide in Puerto Rico in 1956.
All this appears to back Eum’s claims that the defoliant, known to cause cancer, fetal deformities and mental illnesses, was sprayed in the middle of the 1950s in Korea.