North Korea’s Kim Jong Un attends ceremony for Pyongyang hospital that has only been recently planned.
Earlier this month, I noted that North Korea’s recent threats regarding its ballistic missile capability may be masking a serious outbreak of the Wuhan Coronavirus.
Now South Korea is slamming the rogue nation for a missile test it deems ‘inappropriate” as more civilized nations are dealing with a pandemic.
North Korea fired two projectiles that appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles on Saturday, South Korea’s military said, calling the action “highly inappropriate” given the global coronavirus pandemic.
The suspected missiles were fired around 6:45-50 a.m. KST into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula from around Sonchon, North Pyongan province, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. Sonchon is above Pyongyang, near the northwest corner of the Korean peninsula.
“Such military action by North Korea is highly inappropriate at a time when COVID-19 is causing difficulties worldwide,” the JCS said, calling for an “immediate stop”.
While it is hard to ascertain the impact of COVID-19 on North Korea, signs point to the spread of infection among its citizens. For example, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un recently attended the opening of a hospital.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is calling on his country to hastily build a “modern general hospital” to “better protect the precious health and safety of our people” amid growing suspicions the Hermit Kingdom isn’t being honest about the coronavirus outbreak.
State media reported Kim broke ground at the hospital construction site in Pyongyang on Tuesday as the North continues to insist it has no cases of COVID-19, despite being sandwiched between the virus hotbeds of China and South Korea.
“Our Party analyzed and assessed the present state of public health service, medical service, in the country… and, feeling miserably self-critical of the fact that there is no perfect and modern medical service establishment even in the capital city, discussed and decided on building in this year of the 75th anniversary of its founding a modern general hospital first in Pyongyang for the promotion of people’s health,” Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling party, quoted Kim as saying in a report published Wednesday.
Additionally, there is further speculation than Kim has been touring military installations to stay away from a virus-infected capital city.
According to North Korea’s state media reports, Kim has apparently been out of Pyongyang since Feb. 26 when he presided over a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party.
Media reports said Kim inspected joint exercises in Wonsan in the country’s eastern province of Kangwon, Feb. 28. It is speculated he moved from Pyongyang to Wonsan the previous day.
…It is rare for a North Korean leader to be away from the capital for such a long time ― or at least it is rare for such a long absence to be reported ― and analysts believe it is to do with fears of the virus.
“If Kim went to the Wonsan area at the end of February, he has been staying in the eastern region for over 10 days. It could be related to the COVID-19 situation in Pyongyang,” Kyungnam University professor Kim Dong-yub said.
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, citing sources in Seoul, reported Wednesday that Kim has apparently been extremely cautious about infection. “Pyongyang has a high population density and
However, the virus is not stopping a planned meeting for North Korea’s parliament.
…North Korea’s official news agency KCNA reported that the rubber-stamp parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, would convene on April 10.
The event would involve gathering nearly 700 officials in one place, analysts said. Such events have been banned in many parts of the world to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“North Korea would not risk holding such a large-scale national political event if the regime was not confident about preventing or containing the spread of the virus,” Rachel Minyoung Lee, a senior analyst at specialist website NK News, told AFP.
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