Kim Jong-un Declares North Korea Safe from COVID-19 Crisis
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has finally made his public appearance, nearly a month after the concerns over the country’s strength started to become headlines in the world. Previously, the chief concerns were vulnerabilities, people’s death due to famine, starvation, collapse and political turmoil. Today, the priorities and concerns have shifted to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
During his appearance, Kim Jong-un scolded some top cadres over the crisis management. Though the officials in the last six months have been successful in keeping the disease out of North Korea, the global virus crisis is still far from over. He also criticised the officials’ on looking and chronic attitude and warned that the hasty relief of anti-epidemic measures will result in unimaginable and irretrievable crisis.
As the virus was spreading rapidly throughout the globe, North Korea closed its borders six months before and kept thousands into isolation. The country has been closed off since January 30. The volunteers of the International Federation of the Red Cross area working on virus prevention measures near the border.
Amid Kim Jong-un’s reduced public appearances, it was speculated that he was isolating himself due to the pandemic. Many raised questions over the health condition of the North Korean leader and his control over the state’s nuclear weapons. The news of him being ill posed a threat to North Korean leadership.
Meanwhile, not even a single virus case has been detected in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. A month ago, Defence Minister Taro Kono warned that the COVID-19 pandemic could be spreading in North Korea, while its leader is keeping the news to himself. Nobody knows the exact situation as of now.
Kim Jong-un has successfully blown off all the suspicions by declaring that North Korea has achieved a “shining success” in holding off the coronavirus in entering the country. He added that the country had “prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable situation”.
The leader didn’t talk about the tensions with South Korea during the appearance, even though his regime lashed out the country for not breaking away from a US-led sanctions campaign that has choked North Korea’s paltry economy.
For a long time now, North Korea has been making efforts to get some relief in the US-issued economic sanctions and achieve security guarantees in exchange for halting its nuclear programme, but failed in its mission. Kim Jong-un’s regime now believes that engaging with the US would bring no benefits for them.
The strict measures taken to avoid the spread of the virus is domestically sending a strong message throughout the country. The North Korean leader definitely wants the people to know that they are safe. But are they really safe? All border traffic has been cut off, while people are facing problems in getting essential supplies. Medicines and supplies built at the border are unable to get through because of the restrictions and COVID fear. The country is completely cutting off with the outside world.
As a sign of progress, North Korea has reopened schools and made it compulsory for the people to wear masks in public places. A report suggested that nearly 922 people in the country were tested negative for the virus, a fact that prove Kim Jong-un’s claims of safe from COVID-19 crisis true. The experts still believe that it is likely impossible for North Korea to prevent a full outbreak, since the country shares a long border with China. The truth behind remains hidden.
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