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A North Korean soldier’s bold attempt to defect
by crossing the heavily guarded border with South Korea galvanized attention this week. But perhaps more surprising was the disclosure
by surgeons struggling to save his life of what they found while repairing his intestinal
wounds: dozens of parasitic worms, some as long as 11 inches. In this video, Defense Updates analyzes why
the defecting soldier indicates that North Korea is not ready for war with U.S? The North Korean soldier drove a jeep into
the Joint Security Area, one of the most heavily guarded portions of the Demilitarized Zone,
on Monday. He then ran across the border to defect to
the South while fellow North Korean troops unleashed a hail of rifle and pistol shots
trying to stop him. He collapsed about 55 yards south of the border,
bleeding profusely. South Korean officers pulled him to safety,
and a United States Black Hawk military helicopter rushed him to a hospital near Seoul, where
he underwent a series of surgeries. This defection was the most dramatic defection
from the North in years, making headlines in South Korea. But more startling news came from the doctors
who were working to clean and patch up his dietary tract, which was torn by bullets
“In my 20 years as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a medical textbook,”
said Dr. Lee Cook-jong, a lead surgeon about the worms in the soldier. The discovery opened a window on the dire
conditions in North Korea, including poor hygiene and nutrition. The news shocked many people in prosperous
South Korea. Surgeons raced to save the North Korean soldier,
whose name and rank have not been released, who sustained serious bullet wounds racing
across the border while his own troops fired on him. “We have found dozens of fully grown parasitic
worms in his damaged intestines,’’ said Dr. Lee Cook-jong, a lead surgeon. “It was a serious parasitic infection.” During a news briefing this week, Dr. Lee
showed photographs of worms as long as 10 or 11 inches. Experts in parasitic worms were not surprised,
however. They said that the finding was consistent
with the broad sense of conditions in the isolated, impoverished North. Defectors to the South have cited the existence
of parasites and abysmal nutrition. Because it lacks chemical fertilizers, North
Korea still relies on human excrement to fertilize its fields, helping parasites to spread, the
experts said. In a 2014 study, South Korean doctors checked
a sample of 17 female defectors from North Korea and found 7 of them infected with parasitic
worms. The soldier’s condition was particularly
noteworthy because North Korean soldiers, especially those deployed near the border
with South Korea, receive priority in food rationing. Yet, in addition to the parasitic worms, doctors
found kernels of corn in his stomach. Its easy to understand that civilians will
be in far worse condition. More than 30,000 North Koreans have fled to
South Korea since a famine killed more than a million people in the North in the 1990s. Since then, international relief agencies
have reported widespread malnutrition and stunted growth among many children in the
North. The wounded soldier, who is believed to be
in his late 20s, is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 132 pounds. In contrast, an average high school male senior
in South Korea is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 154 pounds. Napoleon had said: “An army marches on its
stomach”. This is true even today and with this state
of affair North Korea will find it very hard to sustain a war effort against a well organized
and well equipped rival.

Tony wyaad

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