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North Korea: "Our country plans ultimate completion of the nuclear force"
18 November 2017, 01:22 | Floyd Cook
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"We have also discovered a parasite never seen in Koreans before".
A North Korean soldier who was shot fleeing across the border had an extremely high level of parasites in his intestines, his doctors said.
Dozens of flesh-coloured parasites, one of which was 27cm (11 inches) long, were found in the man's digestive tract during life-saving operations, according to the lead surgeon, Lee Cook-jong.
The parasites, along with kernels of corn in his stomach, may confirm what many experts and previous defectors have described about the food and hygiene situation for many North Koreans.
US and Japanese naval forces have begun their annual bilateral training exercise, seen as a show of force amid North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests. "The parasite infection problem seems to be serious even if it does not represent the entire North Korean population".
An article in the Korea Biomedical Review (KBR) explains that the soldier underwent two rounds of surgery at Ajou University hospital.
It's unclear whether the parasite has been seen in other parts of the world. However, the diplomat stated that his country can't give up its nuclear program as it is a "deterrent".
"He has everything that he could have", Lee said.
Defense Secretary James Mattis on Thursday indicated that a recent halt in North Korean nuclear and missile testing may signal an opportunity for talks, though Pentagon officials cautioned that it is too soon to read into the pause. This means the soldier's body is representative of many North Koreans and potentially insightful for researchers hoping to learn about the wider health of the country.
Imported corn, which is less preferred but cheaper to obtain than rice, has tended to increase in years when North Koreans are more anxious about their seasonal harvests.
China and Russian Federation have proposed that the United States and South Korea stop major military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programs.
Despite the drought and global sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear programme, the cost of corn and rice has remained relatively stable, according to a Reuters analysis of market data collected by the defector-run Daily NK website.
THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has reiterated its call to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons as it expressed "grave concern" over North Korea's missile tests, saying these "seriously threaten peace and stability" in the region. The WFP says about one in four children have grown less tall than their South Korean counterparts. A study in 2009 found preschool children in the North were up to 13cm shorter and up to 7kg lighter than those brought up in the South.
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