The presidential office on Friday asked the parliament to endorse an anti-terrorism bill in the latest push to try to better protect South Korea from any possible terror attacks.

Presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk expressed hope that the National Assembly "would take into account public safety exposed to terror threats."

Opposition lawmakers staged a marathon filibuster for the third straight day Friday, dimming prospects of any bipartisan breakthrough on the bill.

The rival parties have been at odds over how much power the National Intelligence Service, South Korea's spy agency, should be given in pursing suspected terrorists.

The main opposition Minjoo Party is concerned about giving far-reaching authority to the spy agency, citing possible power abuse by the agency.

The spy agency's predecessors were accused by critics of being used as a political tool to silence political dissidents during previous authoritarian governments.

The anti-terrorism bill has gained fresh momentum in South Korea as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered officials to concentrate on building capabilities for terror attacks and cyberattacks on South Korea.

In what could be a conflicting signal, North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong has recently reaffirmed North Korea's "consistent stand opposing all forms of terrorism."

Also on Friday, Yoon Sang-hyun, a lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party, said North Korea has about 2,500 to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons in stock and is capable of producing 4,500 tons of biological agents annually, citing government data.

He said North Korea can use biological weapons for terror attacks by sending a small team of commandos. He also said a Scud missile tipped with a biological weapon can contaminate 560,000 square meters, about 56 times the size of a football stadium.

Source: Yonhap news Agency