A North Korean soldier who defected to South Korea in 2017 was found to have anthrax antibodies in his bloodstream, according to a Tuesday report from Channel A news.
A South Korean intelligence official dropped the revelation. Speaking under the condition of anonymity, he informed local news station Channel A that "anthrax antibodies have been found in the North Korean soldier who defected this year."
It's not known whether the soldier was exposed to or vaccinated against anthrax, and the official did not specify which soldier of the four soldiers who parted ways with Pyongyang this year carried the antibodies. Soldiers defected from North Korea June 12, June 18, November 13 and December 20.
According to South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo, Seoul has yet to obtain a vaccine for anthrax. It expects to have developed a vaccine for its military "by the end of 2019."
The discovery of the soldier's anthrax immunization follows a recent report from Japan's Asahi newspaper that suggests North Korea has begun to test loading anthrax onto the tip of its intercontinental ballistic missiles, the International Business Times reported.
Citing an intelligence source, the Asahi publication alleged that North Korea was "conducting heat and pressure resistance tests to see whether anthrax germs can survive at temperatures of 7,000 degrees or higher, the level an ICBM encounters when it re-enters Earth's atmosphere."
Though the Democratic People's Republic of Korea addressed the issue and fully denied the notion, US President Donald Trump responded to the allegations in his first National Security Strategy report on December 19 by stating that Kim Jong-un's regime is "pursuing chemical and biological weapons which could also be delivered by missile."
“North Korea has started experiments such as heat and pressure equipment to prevent anthrax from dying even at a high temperature of over 7,000 degrees generated at the time of ICBM's re-entry into the atmosphere.”