North Korean defector had 27cm parasitic worm in his stomach

"I've never seen anything like this in my 20 years as a physician", Lee said.

The daily said that the new strategy also includes making further investments toward "boost-phase missile defense", which aims to hit long-range missiles while their engines are firing and the vehicles are stressed to the breaking point and before their warheads are deployed.

China on Thursday reiterated its call for an agreement between North Korea and the USA under which the North would gain concessions if it freezes its nuclear weapons program, apparently contradicting remarks a day earlier by President Donald Trump.

"[The man's condition is] not surprising at all considering the North's hygiene and parasite problems".

The young man was rushed to hospital in South Korea by helicopter where he has undergone two rounds of emergency surgery.

Officials have said that the defecting soldier made the crossing at the Panmunjom peace village at the Joint Security Area - the heavily guarded section of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) where troops from the North & South face each other.

Doan Thi Huong
Doan Thi Huong

North Korea has not commented on the defection.

While the contents of the defector's stomach do not necessarily reflect the wider population, his status as a soldier with an elite assignment suggests he would at least be as well nourished as an average North Korean.

Pull quote: In 2014, Kim Jong-un personally urged farmers to use human faeces, along with animal waste and organic compost, to fertilise their fields. "By the 1990s, the state could not supply it anymore, so farmers started to use a lot of night soil instead".

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. If the objects are indeed pieces of a pressure hull, they are bigger than what is used for North Korea's current ROMEO-class attack submarines.

About one in four North Korean children grow to be shorter than their South Korean counterparts, according to the World Food Programme. North Korea started testing submarine-launched ballistic missiles a year ago, and Kim Jong Un has shown an increased willingness to utilize submarines.

An official from South Korea's top spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, told lawmakers on Thursday that North Korea has not secured the key technologies needed to build a ballistic missile that can survive a return through the atmosphere, the Yonhap news agency reported yesterday, citing a "parliamentary source".

  • Tracy Klein