A North Korean soldier who was shot fleeing across the border had an extremely high level of parasites in his intestines, his doctors said.
Dr Lee added: "I've never seen anything like this in my 20 years as a physician".
The ministry said the duo also noted constructive roles by countries such as China and Russian Federation in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, and agreed to strengthen strategic communication with other related parties based on close coordination between South Korea and the U.S. The operations involved removing a bullet lodged in the abdominal wall and managing the "enormous number" of parasites including roundworms in his gut, the longest of which was was 27 centimeters (11 inches).
The soldier was flown to hospital by helicopter on Monday after his escape to South Korea under fire from North Korean soldiers.
The Asean statement said the growing tension between the USA and North Korea should be resolved through a "peaceful" approach, thus, appealed that the two nations exercise "self-restraint" and start non-adversarial dialogue.
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"(The soldier's condition is) not surprising at all considering the North's hygiene and parasite problems", Choi added.
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. It denies North Korea's persistent accusation that it is planning to invade.
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.
The North uses human feces as fertilizer, according to the BBC.
The North Korean leader is said to rarely meet senior foreign visitors.
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"By the 1990s, the state could not supply it any more, so farmers started to use a lot of night soil instead".
North Korea started testing submarine-launched ballistic missiles previous year, and Kim Jong Un has shown an increased willingness to utilize submarines.
"China is sending an envoy and delegation to North Korea - A big move, we'll see what happens!"
Parasites can enter the body in a number of ways - such as insect bites - but it is believed that many people in North Korea are likely to be infected as a result of contaminated food.
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