South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha cast doubt on Saturday over North Korea’s claim that it has no coronavirus cases, while offering the South’s help in combating the pandemic.
In an unusually lucid official remark, Kang told the once a year IISS Manama Dialogue security convention that Pyongyang has not been very responsive to Seoul’s offer to help.
“They still say they don’t have any cases, which is tough to imagine,” Kang said. “All signs are that the regime is very intensely focused on controlling the disease that they say they don’t have, so it’s a bit of an extraordinary situation.”
In its most recent weekly outline to the World Health Association, North Korea said it had no confirmed cases of coronavirus, despite the fact that it cited 8,594 “suspected cases.”
The pandemic has further lonely North Korea, which has turned toward more top-down decision making where little is discussed on the country’s measures to tackle Covid-19, Kang said.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said this week the country has imposed “top-class emergency measures” to prevent the coronavirus that cause Covid-19 from making inroads in the country, making stringent anti-virus efforts.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has said an outbreak in the North cannot be ruled out as the country had business and people-to-people exchanges with China – where the disease emerged a year ago – before shutting the border in late January.
Analysts said an outbreak could be devastating for the economically and politically lonely country.[ad_2]