Kim Jong-un has revealed that North Korea is facing a “great crisis,” as he dismisses party officials for neglect of duty over their failure to implement measures to protect citizens from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The North Korean leader held a meeting with members of the workers’ party to chastise officials for failing to protect citizens by implementing measures to tackle the pandemic, dismissing some senior figures for neglecting their duty, according to a report by North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA, on Wednesday.
While KCNA did not provide specific details about the situation, it described Kim Jong-un as declaring that the country was suffering from a “great crisis” that was caused by officials having “neglected the implementation of the important decisions” that would ensure “the security of the state and safety of the people.”
The dismissals come despite North Korea not confirming that it has had any Covid-19 cases, even as South Korea and US officials suggest otherwise. However, the Asian nation has implemented stringent measures, such as border closures and travel restrictions, to prevent the import of new strains of the virus.
Responding to the North Korean leader’s actions, South Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choi Jong-kun, said Seoul had nothing further to add, other than reiterating that it had expressed a “willingness to help” Pyongyang fight the pandemic, offering “whatever you can imagine.”
In July last year, North Korea announced it had declared a state of emergency, locking down a border town over concerns that a defector had illegally returned across the border from South Korea with symptoms of Covid-19. However, it did not provide further information about the individual’s condition, whether they had been tested for coronavirus, or how extensive its subsequent spread might have been.
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