December 27, 2017
As we’ve reported here and here, there have been several high-profile defections this year involving Korean soldiers sprinting across the heavily fortified border between the two Koreas – a feat that had not been previously accomplished since 2007.
In the first incident, the soldier was shot seven times as he staged a daring escape that ended with him being dragged to safety by American and South Korean forces.
In the second incident, a North Korean soldier simply walked across.
Two other soldiers also escaped in incidents that apparently weren’t picked up by the western media.
Now, doctors examining one of the soldiers have reportedly discovered that he possesses antibodies to Anthrax – a potent chemical weapon that was notoriously used in the 2001 Anthrax attacks in the US. According to the New York Post, a South Korean intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity did not say which of the four soldiers who fled the hermit kingdom this year had the antibodies in his system. But the discovery is causing concern in Seoul because, once the bacterium is released, it can kill 80% of those infected within 24 hours unless antibiotics are taken or vaccination is available.
And while the US has stockpiles of the vaccine, South Korea has yet to produce it.
Defense Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said an anthrax “vaccine is expected to be developed by the end of 2019,” but likely not before then.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The restive North Korean regime has been suspected of developing biological weapons after publicizing the works of the Pyongyang Biological Technology Research Institute in 2015. The institute is run by the North Korean army.
Pyongyang claimed the facility specializes in pesticide research, but analysts have said its dual-use equipment suggests biological weapons are being manufactured in North Korea.