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Kim Jong Un marks conflict anniversary amid virus considerations

Summary

SEOUL: North Korean chief Kim Jong Un has visited a nationwide cemetery and handed out commemorative pistols to military officers, state media reported Monday, as he pushes to muster public help for efforts to comprise a possible coronavirus outbreak. On […]

SEOUL: North Korean chief Kim Jong Un has visited a nationwide cemetery and handed out commemorative pistols to military officers, state media reported Monday, as he pushes to muster public help for efforts to comprise a possible coronavirus outbreak.
On Sunday, North Korea stated that Kim had put a metropolis close to the border with South Korea underneath lockdown and declared a state of emergency after an individual with suspected Covid-19 signs was just lately discovered there. If the particular person is identified with the virus, it could be North Korea’s first formally confirmed case, although many exterior consultants consider the virus has already unfold to the nation.
The North’s official Korean Central Information Company reported that Kim visited a cemetery on the outskirts of Pyongyang the place Korean Struggle useless are buried to mark the 67th anniversary of the tip of the 1950-53 conflict. Kim laid a single rose and bowed earlier than an enormous monument on the Fatherland Liberation Struggle Martyrs Cemetery, based on KCNA. It did not say precisely when Kim went there.
A 1953 armistice that ended the conflict has but to get replaced with a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula in a technical state of conflict. North Korea considers the armistice signing as a victory and infrequently makes use of the anniversary as an opportunity to advertise nationalism.
KCNA additionally reported that Kim gave “Paektusan” commemorative pistols, named after the sacred peak on the peninsula, to senior army officers throughout a ceremony Sunday marking the conflict anniversary. State media images confirmed a beaming Kim, clad in his trademark darkish swimsuit, sitting whereas surrounded by military officers holding black pistols.
“The contributors held excessive the pistols and made agency pledges to battle for Kim Jong Un at the price of their lives,” KCNA reported.
Kim is in want of stronger inside unity as he struggles to face up to crippling US-led sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, which pressured him in January to shut the North’s border with China, its greatest buying and selling accomplice and assist benefactor.
Whereas asserting the Kaesong metropolis lockdown, North Korea’s state media reported that the suspected virus affected person was a runway who had fled to South Korea three years in the past earlier than illegally slipping again to the North early final week.
Some consultants say North Korea was aiming to carry South Korea answerable for a virus unfold and apply extra stress on its rival. Others say the North could also be looking for an excuse to win anti-virus assist gadgets from South Korea.
South Korean officers stated their investigation into who crossed the border into the North has been narrowed to a single particular person. With out figuring out who that particular person is, army spokesperson Kim Jun-rak instructed reporters Monday {that a} bag belonging to the particular person was discovered on a South Korean border island. Well being official Yoon Taeho individually stated that the particular person has by no means been listed as a virus affected person in South Korea.
KCNA on Sunday quoted Kim as saying “the vicious virus” might have entered the North whereas urging the North Korean public to rally behind him to beat “the current epidemic disaster.”
Monitoring teams and refugees from North Korea have been extremely skeptical of the North’s declare that it has had no instances of the coronavirus as a result of the nation shares a protracted, porous border with China, the place the virus is believed to have began late final yr. Analysts say a virus outbreak in North Korea might trigger a humanitarian catastrophe attributable to its wrecked well being care system and lack of medical provides.
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