Kim Jong-un’s officials burst into tears yesterday when the dictator’s sister revealed he was “seriously ill” with “high fever” this summer.
Kim Yo-jong told a crowded congregation of accomplices in military uniform how the Supreme Leader suffered after North Korea’s first recognized Covid outbreak in May, sparking emotional scenes as many wiped away tears.
They cheered and cheered when she declared revenge on South Korea, claiming that their neighbors had deliberately infected them by sending contaminated pamphlets across the border, spreading the virus to reportedly 4.8 million North Korean citizens.
She said: “If the enemies continue to do dangerous things that could introduce the virus to our country, we will of course respond by not only eradicating the virus, but also eradicating the South Korean authority. .’
Her statement was the first suggestion that Kim may have contracted Covid, despite the country’s claims for two years that no case was discovered until their outbreak this year, which resulted in a nationwide lockdown.
In his speech, the strongman then declared a “miraculous” victory over the virus that he only admitted to having entered his country in May.
Kim Jong-un became ‘seriously ill’ with ‘high fever’ during North Korea’s Covid outbreak, sister has admitted
North Korean state television showed some members of an audience of thousands crying as she spoke about her brother’s alleged fever
Kim Jong-un delivered a speech to declare victory over Covid just three months after their outbreak
Since North Korea admitted in May that the virus had an ommicron outbreak, it has reported about 4.8 million “fever cases.”
Kim Yo-jong accused South Korea of deliberately spreading the virus by sending infected pamphlets across the border
She claimed her brother had been experiencing fever symptoms and praised his “energetic and meticulous guidance” for bringing an “epoching miracle” to the fight against COVID-19.
‘(South Korean) dolls are still throwing pamphlets and dirty objects into our territory. We have to act hard against it,” she said.
“We have already considered several counter-action plans, but our countermeasure must be a deadly retaliatory measure.”
Kim Yo Jong’s reference to Kim Jong Un’s illness was not further explained.
Experts say North Korea has manipulated the scale of the outbreak to help Kim maintain absolute control of the country amid mounting economic difficulties.
In May, Kim declared a nationwide lockdown after two years of claims that no infection had been detected in the country (pictured in May)
Wednesday’s emotional crowd cheered and cheered as revenge was pronounced on South Korea
They believe the declaration of victory indicates Kim plans to move to other priorities, but are concerned that his sister’s comments are provocative.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which regulates inter-Korean affairs, issued a statement expressing deep regret at North Korea’s “extremely disrespectful and threatening remarks” based on “ridiculous claims”.
Since North Korea admitted in May that the virus had an Omicron outbreak, it has reported about 4.8 million “fever cases” in its population of 26 million, but only a fraction of those identified as COVID-19.
It is claimed that the outbreak has been slowing for weeks and that only 74 people have died.
Kim said in his speech: “Since we started running the maximum anti-epidemic campaign (in May), daily fever cases that reached hundreds of thousands during the early days of the outbreak have been reduced to less than 90,000 a month later and have continued to decrease.” , and since July 29, not a single case of fever suspected to be related to the malignant virus has been reported.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which manages inter-Korean affairs, said in a statement that it expressed deep regret at North Korea’s “extremely disrespectful and threatening remarks.”
Kim’s sister’s bellicose rhetoric indicates she will try to blame the south for a Covid resurgence, experts say
“For a country that has yet to administer a single vaccination, our success in overcoming the spread of the disease in such a short time and restoring public health security and returning our country to a clean virus-free zone make an astonishing miracle that would be recorded in the world’s history of public health.”
Kim’s declaring victory over COVID-19 suggests he wants to prioritize other things, such as boosting a fractured and heavily sanctioned economy further damaged by pandemic border closures or conducting a nuclear test, said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.
South Korean and US officials have said North Korea could prepare for its first nuclear test in five years amid its scorching series of weapons tests this year, including the first demonstrations of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017.
The provocative testing activity underscores Kim’s dual intent to increase his arsenal and pressure the Biden government over long-stalled negotiations aimed at using the nuclear weapons for much-needed relief from sanctions and security concessions, experts say.
Kim Jun-rak, a spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Thursday that the South Korean military remained firm and prepared for “various possibilities” of North Korean provocations.
The bellicose rhetoric from Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, is worrisome as it indicates she will try to blame any resurgence of Covid on the South and also justify North Korea’s next military provocation, Easley said.
North Korea first suggested in July that the Covid outbreak started in people who came into contact with objects carried by balloons flown from South Korea — a dubious and unscientific claim that appeared to be an attempt to hold its rival accountable. to keep.
Activists have flown balloons across the border for years to distribute hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets criticizing Kim, and North Korea has often expressed anger at the activists and South Korea’s leadership for not holding them back.
The coronavirus is spread by people in close contact who breathe airborne droplets, and experts agree that spreading the virus from surfaces is virtually impossible.
North Korea’s outbreak is said to have spread when the country briefly reopened its border with China to freight traffic in January and rose further after a military parade and other large-scale events in Pyongyang in April.
In May, Kim banned travel between cities and counties to slow the spread of the virus. But he also stressed that his economic goals had to be met, which meant that large groups continued to gather on agricultural, industrial and construction sites.
During the virus meeting, Kim called for the relaxation of preventive measures and for the maintenance of vigilance and effective border controls, citing the global spread of novel coronavirus variants and monkey pox.