Kim Jong-un has berated top officials over lapses which caused a “grave incident” related to Covid-19, North Korean state media report. It was a rare sign of the pandemic’s severity in North Korea, which previously insisted it had no Covid cases – a claim doubted by experts. The country has closed its borders to keep out the virus. But coupled with international sanctions, this has led to food shortages and a worsening economy.
North Korea said Monday the U.S. allowing South Korea to build more powerful missiles was an example of the U.S.’s hostile policy against the North, warning that it could lead to an “acute and instable situation” on the Korean Peninsula. It’s North Korea’s first response to the May 21 summit between the leaders of the United States and South Korea.
North Korea warned on Sunday that the United States will face a grave situation if it continues to pursue its “hostile policy” toward Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The statement, attributed to Kwon Jong Gun, head of the Foreign Ministry’s department of U.S. affairs, comes as the Biden administration is set to unveil a new strategy to deal with the isolated Asian nation.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for another “arduous march” against severe economic difficulties, appearing to compare the situation to a 1990s famine during which hundreds of thousands of people died. Kim had previously said his country faces the “worst-ever” situation due to factors including the coronavirus pandemic, US-led sanctions and natural disasters, but this is the first time he has publicly drawn a parallel with the deadly famine.
North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles off the east coast and into the sea, Japan’s prime minister has said. Yoshihide Suga said the launches threaten “peace and safety in Japan and the region” and that Tokyo would closely coordinate with Washington and Seoul about the North’s testing activities. North Korea’s ballistic missiles are banned under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
Kim Jong Un’s sister has warned the US to scrap future military exercises with South Korea if “it wants a good night’s sleep for the next four years”. It comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Asia to talk to allies Japan and South Korea about North Korea and other regional issues.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, appeared in state media for the first time in more than a year on Wednesday, joining her husband at a concert on one of the country’s biggest holidays. Ri had often accompanied Kim to major public events, but had not been seen since January last year at an event for the Lunar New Year holiday, stoking speculation over her health and potential pregnancy.
North Korea attempted to steal Covid-19 vaccine technology from US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, according to South Korean intelligence officials. It is currently unclear as to what, if any, data was stolen. North Korea has yet to report a single case of coronavirus. However, the country is due to receive two million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in the coming weeks.
North Korea displayed new submarine-launched ballistic missiles under development and other military hardware in a parade that underlined leader Kim Jong Un’s defiant calls to expand the country’s nuclear weapons program. State media said Kim took center stage in Thursday night’s parade celebrating a major ruling party meeting in which he vowed maximum efforts to bolster the nuclear and missile program that threatens Asian rivals and the American homeland.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his five-year economic plan had failed to meet its goals “on almost every sector” as he kicked off a congress of the ruling Workers’ Party, state media KCNA reported on Wednesday. The rare political gathering, which Kim last hosted in 2016, has drawn international attention as he is expected to unveil a new five-year economic plan and address inter-Korean ties and foreign policy.