North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is said to be angry about the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact, South Korea’s spy agency said on Friday.
According to the Associated Press, Kim has ordered the execution of at least two people, locked down the capital of Pyongyang, and implemented other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
One of the two people who were executed was a well-known money changer in Pyongyang, who was reportedly blamed for North Korea’s falling exchange rate.
North Korea’s economy has suffered in recent months as the country was forced to seal its border with its biggest trading partner, China, back in January.
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North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, reportedly displayed “excessive anger” over the coronavirus pandemic and its economic damage, a South Korea’s spy agency said on Friday.
According to The Associated Press (AP), Kim is also said to be ordering “irrational measures” to slow the spread of COVID-19, including ordering the execution of at least two people, banning fishing at sea, and locking down the capital, Pyongyang.
The latest information from the Hermit Kingdom comes from South Korean lawmakers, who spoke to reporters on Friday after having a private meeting with the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the country’s chief intelligence agency.
The NIS reportedly informed officials that one of the two executed people was a well-known money changer in Pyongyang, who was reportedly blamed for North Korea’s falling exchange rate.
The other person was allegedly a top government official who was caught violating restrictions placed on goods from outside the country amid the pandemic, AP reported.
North Korea’s economy has borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic as the country was forced to seal its border with its biggest trading partner, China, back in January.
Korea’s International Trade Association said earlier this week that North Korea’s trade with China shrank 73% through September and is on course to plunge 80 percent for the whole year, according to the South China Morning Post.
Kim also implemented a ban on fishing to stop seawater from being infected with the virus, the NIS said.
A full lockdown has also been placed on several regions in the country, including the capital and the northern Jagang province. It has also halted tourism.
These photos show what life looks like during a North Korean lockdown.
North Korea has so far reported zero cases and zero fatalities, though it’s unlikely that’s actually true.
As major coronavirus vaccines are being approved worldwide, Kim’s government reportedly tried to hack at least one South Korean pharmaceutical company developing a vaccine. Their attempts were unsuccessful.
Kim has also ordered overseas diplomats not to engage in any actions that could provoke the US because it is worried about President-elect Joe Biden’s new approach toward North Korea, AP reported.
“We’ve been told that there have been orders to exercise utmost prudence in language,” lawmaker Kim Byung-kee told reporters, according to NPR.
The new Biden’s administration could signal a change for North Korea after it’s leader had developed a relationship with President Donald Trump.
On several occasions, Trump has met with Kim during his presidency and once reportedly told veteran reporter Bob Woodward that the two leaders “get along.”
“He likes me. I like him. We get along. That doesn’t mean I’m naive. That doesn’t mean that I think, oh, it’s going to be wonderful. He’s a very tough cookie. And he is smart, very smart,” Trump said to Woodward at the time.
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