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North Korea claims to have won COVID-19, blames Seoul for epidemic

Seoul, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared victory over COVID-19 and ordered the easing of precautionary measures just three months after acknowledging the outbreak. rice field. Recognized as a miracle of health worldwide.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said on Thursday that Kim's sister had said her brother had a fever and warned of deadly reprisals of leaflets flown across the border from South Korea.

Some experts believe that North Korea manipulated the scale of the outbreak so that Kim Jong-un could overthrow the country amid growing economic difficulties. I believe that I have been able to maintain a strong dominance. They believe the victory statement shows that Kim is looking to shift to other priorities, but are concerned that his sister's remarks portend provocation.

South Korea's Unification Ministry, which deals with inter-Korean relations, has expressed strong regret over North Korea's "extremely disrespectful and threatening comments" based on "absurd claims" about the source of the epidemic. issued a statement to

North Korea has reported nearly 4.8 million 'fever cases' in a population of 26 million since acknowledging her virus outbreak in May, identified as COVID-19 was only a fraction of that. The outbreak has slowed for weeks and claims to have killed just 74 people.

"Since the launch of the largest emergency epidemic prevention campaign (in May), the number of daily fever cases, which reached hundreds of thousands early in the outbreak, has dropped to 90,000 a month later. Not a single case of fever suspected to be linked to the evil virus has been reported since July 29, Kim said in a speech Wednesday, according to KCNA.

“For a country that has not yet had a single dose of vaccination, in such a short time we will overcome the epidemic, restore public health security, and make our country a virus-free country. The revival of free zones is an amazing miracle to be recorded in global public health history," he said.

Kim Jong Il's declaring victory over COVID-19 will help other countries, including boosting a broken and heavily sanctioned economy further hit by the pandemic's border closures and the conduct of nuclear tests. Leif said he wants to move on to the priorities of Ewha Womans University, Seoul's Eric Easley, professor of international affairs.

South Korean and U.S. officials say North Korea's first nuclear test in five years comes amid a ferocious run of weapons tests this year, including its first demonstration of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017.

This provocative test activity aims to use nuclear weapons to make much-needed sanctions relief and security concessions. It underscores Kim's dual intent to push his arsenal forward by putting pressure on the Biden administration over long-term stalled negotiations, experts say.

Kim Jun-rak, spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that the South Korean military remains well-positioned and prepared for "various possibilities" of North Korean provocations. said.

The belligerent rhetoric of Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, shows that she will try to blame South Korea for the resurgence of COVID-19, and will also be the next North Korean military leader. Easley said he was concerned because it showed an attempt to justify provocation.

North Korea first suggested in July that the COVID-19 outbreak began with people coming into contact with objects carried by balloons flown out of South Korea.

For years, activists have flown balloons across borders and distributed hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets criticizing Kim Jong Il.

At Wednesday's meeting, Kim Yo-jong echoed these allegations, calling the country's virus crisis a "hysterical farce" that South Korea set out to escalate the conflict. She claims her brother suffered from a fever and praises his "vigorous and meticulous guidance" that has resulted in a "breakthrough miracle" in the fight against COVID-19 Did.

She said, "(South Korean) puppets are still pushing leaflets and dirty things into our territory. We must stand firm against them." She said, "We are already considering various countermeasures, but our countermeasure must be deadly retaliation." , was not explained further.

Outside experts say North Korea temporarily reopened its northern border with China for cargo shipments in January, and a military parade and other large-scale events were held in Pyongyang in April. It is speculated that the virus spread further after it was done.

In May, Kim banned travel between cities and counties to slow the spread of the virus. But he also stressed that his economic goals should be met. That meant huge groups continued to flock to agricultural, industrial and construction sites.

At a virus conference, Kim Jong-Il cited the global spread of the new coronavirus subspecies and monkeypox, easing precautionary measures and encouraging nations to maintain vigilance and effective border controls. asked to do.

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