CLOSE

The U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to impose tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest ballistic missile test which the North Korean government says can hit anywhere on the U.S. mainland. (Dec. 22)
AP

Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this article misidentified South Korea’s president.

The reported discovery of anthrax antibodies in a North Korean defector is renewing fears that the regime of Kim Jong Un is developing lethal biological weapons in violation of international law.

A South Korean intelligence officer told that nation’s Channel A television that one of at least four soldiers who defected from the North this year had the antibodies in his system. Senior defense analyst Shin Jong Woo said the anthrax vaccine is probably given to North Korean soldiers working on biological weapons projects.

Although rare in the United States, people can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Contact with anthrax can cause severe illness and death if not treated, according to the CDC, which noted that anthrax is not contagious like a common cold or flu.

The revelation about the defector comes a week after reports began circulating that North Korea had begun tests to load anthrax onto intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, citing intelligence sources in Seoul, has reported that Kim’s regime is conducting heat and pressure resistance tests to see whether anthrax germs can survive the intense heat an intercontinental ballistic missile encounters when it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

North Korea has denied it is…