North Korean defector had anthrax antibodies in system, report says

Traces of anthrax antibodies were discovered in the system of a North Korean soldier who had defected to South Korea at some point in 2017, a local South Korean television station reported Tuesday.

The soldier’s name and exact date of defection were not disclosed. But the defector is said to have been exposed to or vaccinated for anthrax, a serious bacterial disease, UPI reported, citing Channel A. They reportedly became immune to the disease before defection.

“Anthrax antibodies have been found in the North Korean soldier who defected this year,” according an unnamed South Korean official speaking to Channel A.

The news comes amid earlier reports that North Korea was beginning tests to mount anthrax onto intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S.

NORTH KOREA BEGINS TESTING MOUNTING ANTHRAX ONTO ICBMS, REPORT SAYS

“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.”

— Report in Japanese newspaper Asahi

The tests were to determine if anthrax could handle the intense heat and pressure it would experience on an ICBM.

“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,” the Japanese newspaper Asahi reported, citing an unidentified person connected to South Korean intelligence services. “In part, there is unconfirmed information that it has already succeeded in such experiments.”

Similarly, the White House released a report on Dec. 18 saying that the rogue nation was “pursuing chemical and biological weapons” that could be “delivered by missile.”

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The released U.S. National Security Strategy stated that the rogue nation has “spent hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland.”

North Korea denied the report, accusing the U.S. of portraying “untruths as truths” for “their aggressive greed.”

Kim Jong Un’s scientists launched North Korea's “greatest” ICBM in late November. The regime claimed it could carry a “super-heavy nuclear warhead” that could strike “the whole mainland of the U.S.” However, North Korea has set out to perfect its re-entry technology. A U.S. official told Fox News that the Hwasong-15 ICBM did not survive re-entry into the atmosphere.

Fox News' Katherine Lam contributed to this report.