August 3, 2021

the Covid-19, a cause of concern for Kim Jong-un

The Covid-19 worries the highest levels of North Korea, where no case has yet been officially reported. Taking advantage of a meeting of the ruling Labor Party’s political bureau on Tuesday, June 29, leader Kim Jong-un blasted, according to the official KCNA news agency, “The negligence of senior officials in the implementation of important decisions”, required by the campaign “Prevention of epidemics linked to the global health crisis”. These negligence would have caused a « cas crucial » at the origin of a “Serious crisis for the security of the State and the population”, which led to the dismissal of several senior officials accused by Mr. Kim of being “The prey of selfishness and passivity”.

No details have filtered out on the “crucial case” in question, but it seems clear to Hong Min of the Korea National Unification Institute in Seoul, “That something serious has happened, important enough to warrant a reprimand.” This could mean massive contamination or the endangering of a large number of people by contact cases ”. To read KCNA, it seems that this crisis could cost his post to a member of the powerful presidium of the political bureau, which brings together Kim Jong-un and four officials. It could be Prime Minister Kim Tok-hun or Jo Yong-won, secretary of the central committee and rising figure in North Korean politics.

Weight loss that questions

Having closed its borders at the start of the pandemic in January 2020, North Korea maintains that it has not recorded any cases of Covid-19. The use of a mask is recommended there, even if Kim Jong-un has never worn one publicly. With the appearance of variants, Kim Jong-un would however multiply the precautionary measures, going so far as to reduce his interactions with the public. No picture shows it at 7e Korea Socialist Women’s Union Congress, ended June 22. Until then, there was no missing photo shoot of such events. “He does not want to take the risk of catching the Covid-19”, estimates Colin Zwirko, analyst of the American site NK News, providing information on North Korea.

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The fear of contracting the virus is a reason given to explain Kim Jong-un’s weight loss, obesity being an aggravating factor for Covid-19. This was visible from June 16, in photos published after four weeks away from the objectives. Kim Jong-un appears thinner there, wearing his watch tighter.

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