North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Appears to Admit Coronavirus is Hitting His State
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has publicly wiped out some of his regime’s top officials. He reproached them for negligence which threatens great danger to the people and the security of the nation. It looks like Kim is referring to the coronavirus.
Until now, North Korea had always said there was no corona, but that is doubted. That “great danger” comes at a time of severe economic and food problems.
According to a North Korean news agency KCNA, Kim made an outcry during a special session of top officials in Pyongyang. They were charged with negligence, and several people would have been fired. It didn’t say who or what it was about, but Kim said that negligence resulted in “a serious incident that poses a great risk to the population and the nation’s security”.
Most “Korea watchers” assume that it is about an outbreak of the coronavirus. Until now, the Stalinist regime had always denied that there was corona in North Korea, but that is not believed internationally. North Korea has virtually closed its only open border with China shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, as have other visits and contacts. An outbreak of the coronavirus could put a lot of pressure on the already drowsy health sector in North Korea, while the chance of foreign aid is slim.
Kim Jong-un may be preparing his population to ask for help from abroad, but that is ideologically very sensitive. North Korea has long adhered to the “juche” principle of complete independence and accepting help from the outside world would mean losing face for the regime.
You could already read on this site that things are not going well with North Korea through Kim Jong-un himself. In the middle of this month, Kim warned of impending food shortages as a result of crop failures, a hurricane and the closure of the border with ally China. Food and medicines can no longer enter North Korea, even though they are not covered by international sanctions.
The economy of the communist state is cracking under those sanctions. Former US President Donald Trump may have shaken hands with Kim, but he relentlessly enforced the sanctions and now his successor Joe Biden does too. He does not seem to want a summit with Kim for the time being.