SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered at least two people to be executed, banned from sea fishing and the capital of Pyongyang closed as part of a huge effort to fight the coronavirus and its economic damage. he told lawmakers on Friday.
Kim’s government has also ordered overseas diplomats to refrain from any action that could provoke the U.S. because it is worried about President-elect Joe Biden’s possible new approach to North Korea, lawmakers told reporters after attending a National Intelligence Service private briefing.
If one Tae-keung lawmaker, citing the NIS, said Kim is “overly angry” and “taking irrational action” because of the epidemic and its economic impact.
If he said the NIS told lawmakers that North Korea executed a major currency exchange in Pyongyang last month after registering the person responsible for the exchange rate fall. Citing the NIS, he said North Korea also executed a key official in August for violating government regulations restricting goods imported from abroad. The two people could not be identified.
North Korea has also banned sea fishing and salt production to prevent seawater from infecting the virus, NIS told lawmakers.
North Korea recently closed Pyongyang and North Yanggang provinces due to concerns about viruses. Earlier this month, it introduced blocking measures in other areas where officials brought in unauthorized goods – quoted Ha by NIS.
North Korea has made a failed hacking attempt against at least one South Korean pharmaceutical company trying to develop a vaccine against a coronavirus, NIS said.
The agency has achieved mixed results in consolidating North Korean developments in one of the world’s most secret nations.
NIS said it could not immediately confirm the legislators’ comments.
North Korea has maintained that it has not found any viral cases on its soil, a claim that has been disputed by external experts, although it claims it will do everything in its power to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A severe epidemic could have serious consequences because the northern health care system remains crippled and suffers from a chronic lack of medical care.
The epidemic forced North Korea to close its border with China, its largest trading partner and aid supporter, in June. The closure, along with a series of summer natural disasters, dealt a severe blow to the northern economy, punishing U.S.-led sanctions.
North China’s trade with China in the first 10 months of this year was $ 530 million, up about 25% from last year’s figure. The price of sugar and spices has risen four times, quoted Ha NIS.
According to North Korean observer groups in Seoul, the North Korean dollar-dollar exchange rate has fallen significantly recently because people have found little room to use foreign exchange after smuggling was largely interrupted by the closure of the Chinese border.
According to the NIS briefing, North Korea has ordered overseas diplomatic missions not to provoke the United States, warning their envoys of the consequences if their remarks or actions about the U.S. cause any problems in Washington relations.
The North Korean government is silent on Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump, with whom Kim Jong Un held three unprecedented summits between 2018 and 19 on the future of the northern nuclear arsenal. While diplomacy eventually stalled, the meetings still helped build Kim and Trump’s personal relationships and stop the previously exchanged gross insults and devastating threats.
Legislator Kim Byung-kee, citing NIS, said North Korea was concerned as its friendly relationship with Trump would become useless and it had to start from scratch in dealing with the incoming Biden administration.
Experts have debated whether North Korea would soon pursue a larger missile experiment to try to get Biden’s attention. In previous changes of government in the United States, North Korea has frequently made large arms transfers to increase its leverage in future negotiations with the new U.S. administration.