Pyongyang lashes out at Seoul for questioning its Covid-19 figures

Seoul, Dec 9 (efe-epa).- The sister of North Korea’s leader has slammed recent statements by the South Korean foreign minister who questioned the lack of Covid-19 cases reported by Pyongyang, saying the minister may “pay dearly.”

With her statement, Kim Yo-jong, who is a senior official in North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, broke months of silence (she had not made a public statement since July) with a brief but harsh message published by the state-run news agency KCNA on Wednesday.

The criticism focuses on a statement by Kang Kyung-wha on Dec. 5 at a forum in Bahrain, where she questioned the coronavirus figures put forward by the regime. Kang said it was hard to believe North Korea’s claim that it had zero Covid-19 cases.

“It can be seen from the reckless remarks made by her without any consideration of the consequences that she is too eager to further chill the frozen relations between the North and South of Korea,” Kim said, according to KCNA.

“We will never forget her words and she might have to pay dearly for it,” she added.

Although the North Korean regime has repeatedly asserted that it has not recorded a single coronavirus infection inside its territory, many experts doubt that the virus has not entered the country through the porous border with China despite the fact that Pyongyang has kept the borders closed since January.

North Korea says it has performed 16,914 PCR diagnostic tests so far without a single positive result, according to data it submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Dec. 1.

The regime has imposed, at certain times, the use of masks, the closure of schools and recommended its citizens avoid crowded places.

In July, the country said that a man who fled to South Korea and returned to the North was possibly the first case of coronavirus in its territory, although it later told the WHO that the result of the test was inconclusive and closed the matter without offering any more information.

The North decided to freeze ties with the South after the failure of the denuclearization summit it held with the US in Hanoi in 2019.

This year, it toughened its stance following the anti-regime leaflets sent via balloons to the North, to which it responded by blowing up the inter-Korean liaison office located on its territory. EFE-EPA


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