onsdag 29. april 2020

Kim Jong-un could be sheltering from Covid-19 pandemic, say US and Seoul

Kim Jong-un is not ill and could be sheltering from the coronavirus pandemic, according to South Korean and US officials, in the latest possible explanation for the North Korean leader’s recent absence from public life. North Korea insists it has yet to identify a single case of Covid-19, despite sharing a border with China, where the outbreak is believed to have started.

Despite recent reports claiming that Kim had missed a key anniversary event after undergoing heart surgery, the South Korean unification minister, Kim Yeon-chul, said it was reasonable to assume that he had decided not to attend as a precaution.Kim was absent from a 15 April ceremony to mark the anniversary of the birth of his grandfather – and North Korea’s founder – Kim Il-sung.

“We have intelligence capacity that allows us to say confidently that there are no unusual signs [in North Korea],” Kim Yeon-chul told a parliamentary hearing. “He had not missed the anniversary … since taking power, but many anniversary events, including celebrations and a banquet, have been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns.