- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is said to be angry about the coronavirus epidemic and its economic impact, a South Korean spy agency said on Friday.
- According to the Associated Press, Kim ordered the execution of at least two people, closed the Pyongyang capital, and took other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- One of the two people executed was one of Pyongyang’s well-known money changers, who were reportedly accused of depreciating North Korea’s exchange rate.
- North Korea’s economy has suffered in recent months as the country was forced to close its border with its largest trading partner, China, back in January.
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un allegedly showed “excessive anger” over the coronavirus epidemic and its economic damage, a South Korean spy agency said on Friday.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Kim is also said to be prescribing “irrational measures” to slow the spread of COVID-19, including ordering the execution of at least two people, banning sea fishing and closing the capital, Pyongyang.
The latest information from the Hermit Kingdom comes from South Korean lawmakers who spoke to reporters on Friday after a private meeting with the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the country’s top intelligence agency.
NIS reportedly informed officials that one of the two executed people was one of Pyongyang’s well-known money changers, who were reportedly accused of depreciating North Korea’s exchange rate.
The other person was allegedly a top government official arrested in violation of restrictions on goods coming from outside the country amid the pandemic, the AP reported.
North Korea’s economy was caused by the coronavirus epidemic as the country was forced to close its border with its largest trading partner, China, back in January.
Korea’s International Trade Association said earlier this week that North Korea’s trade with China had shrunk by 73% by September, and the South China Morning Post said it would fall 80% throughout the year.
Kim has also enforced a ban on fishing to prevent seawater from infecting the virus, NIS said.
Several regions of the country, including the capital and northern Jagang Province, were also subject to full blockade. It also stopped tourism.
These pictures show what life looks like during a North Korean closing.
North Korea has so far reported zero cases and zero deaths, although this is unlikely to be true.
With major coronavirus vaccines being approved worldwide, Kim’s government has allegedly tried to crack down on at least one South Korean drug company developing the vaccine. Their attempts were unsuccessful.
Kim also ordered overseas diplomats not to take any action that could provoke the United States because it is worried about President-elect Joe Biden’s new approach to North Korea, the AP reported.
“We have been told there are orders with the utmost caution in the field of language,” legislator Kim Byung-kee told reporters, according to the NPR.
The new Biden administration could signal a change for North Korea after its leader established ties with President Donald Trump.
Trump met Kim several times during his presidency and allegedly once told veteran reporter Bob Woodward that the two leaders were “coming out.”
“I like it. I love it. We’re coming out. That doesn’t mean I’m naive. It doesn’t mean I think, oh, it’s going to be wonderful. It’s a very hard cookie. And it’s smart, it’s very smart,” Trump told Woodward then.