Kim Jong-un: Doctor's take on weight loss revealed by reporter
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The despot leader went on a firing spree of several of his senior officials this week who failed to carry out Covid prevention measures. He did not elaborate on what crisis has been caused, but warned during the most recent meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea politburo that the “security of the state” was at risk.
KCNA state news agency reported: “He mentioned that senior officials in charge of important state affairs neglected the implementation of the important decisions of the Party … and thus caused a crucial case of creating a great crisis in ensuring the security of the state and safety of the people and entailed grave consequences.”
North Korea has still not officially confirmed any COVID cases, despite the pandemic starting more than a year ago.
This has been questioned by both South Korean and US officials.
Despite no cases, the reclusive country has still imposed strict anti-covid measures, including border closures and domestic travel bans.
Some experts have claimed that a lack of cases being recorded may be due to Pyongyang’s limited testing capacity.
The skepticism arose because there are around 25 million people in North Korea, and the deadly virus has managed to infect more than 180 million people worldwide.
South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun said officials in Seoul were aware of the Kim’s recent comments, but said he had nothing to add.
He told reporters: “During this pandemic era we have publicly expressed our willingness to help (North Korea) ranging from PCR tests to whatever you can imagine.”
Harvard Medical School’s Kee B. Park, who has worked on health care projects in North Korea, said the country has taken anti-Covid protection very seriously, suggesting that officials who did not correctly follow protocol would no doubt be in trouble.
He said: “The main objective of North Korea’s strategy is to prevent the virus from even getting into the country while simultaneously strengthening its treatment capabilities as well as acquiring vaccines.
“However, the success comes with steep cost to its economy and increased vulnerability for the poorest of the population.”
Following the border closures, Pyongyang has reported a food crisis due to lack of trade with China.
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The agriculture sector is also still recovering from storm damage last year, which has also played a devastating part in the food crisis.
Last year, North Korea confirmed it had declared a state of emergency and locked down the border city of Kaesong.
This was after a person who defected to South Korea three years ago returned across the border with what state media said were symptoms of Covid.
KCNA warned at the time of a “dangerous situation” developing in Kaesong that could lead to a “deadly and destructive disaster.”
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But the World Health Organisation (WHO) later said North Korea’s Covid test results for the man were “inconclusive”.
Meanwhile, Kim has caused alarm over his own health state after being pictured with a dramatic weight loss.
Speaking to Korean Central Television last week, a member of the public voiced their concerns over his health.
They said: “The people were most heartbroken to see the respected General Secretary looking thinner.
“Everyone is saying that they are moved to tears.”
Earlier this month, NK News also claimed the state has “begun to make preparations for the sudden death or, more likely, long-term incapacitation of North Korea’s current leader”.
The news website said: “This decision probably indicates that Kim’s health is not good.”
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