US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The crisis due to the coronavirus reached the most closed country in the world.
Late last week, North Korea reported that US President Donald Trump had sent a letter to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Trump allegedly wrote about his intention to cooperate in the fight against epidemics. This is stated in a statement by Kim’s influential sister, 31-year-old Kim Yo Chen, with a hint of a coronavirus pandemic.
From the very beginning of the crisis caused by the Chinese coronavirus, the regime has acted extremely decisively. At least symbolically. Foreign embassies were forced to close (including the German representative office), their employees were taken out by plane. A new hospital is under construction.
“North Korea takes the pandemic very seriously. We can say that she herself imposed effective sanctions against her own economy, ending any trade relations with China, ”said Ankit Panda, one of the leading experts on North Korea in the United States, in an interview with Bild.
An expert on North Korea tweeted that, however, one should not rely on the collapse of the state of Kim:
“I don’t think that the version about the collapse of the regime will go back into fashion. I suppose that the regime will survive a crisis for which ordinary North Koreans, who have to constantly suffer, will pay dearly.”
Will coronavirus paralyzed North Korea fall apart?
According to the state news agency KCNA, 36-year-old Kim Jong-un was still personally watching the latest military maneuvers in early March. He allegedly praised the “perfect combat readiness” of the armed forces. In popular propaganda photographs, Kim is without a mask, while the military in official photographs wear masks. Earlier this year, Kim announced that he would no longer adhere to a moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles. He threatened that he would soon demonstrate a “new strategic weapon.”
Will the virus cross Kim’s plans?
Demonstration of power against the coronavirus
The Bild correspondent spoke with an expert on North Korea, military analyst and writer Ankit Panda about what the crisis caused by the coronavirus means for Kim’s dictatorship.
Bild: We recently watched army exercises and missile tests in North Korea.
Ankit Panda: March is an ordinary month for carrying out planned maneuvers of the North Korean army, including for the exercises of missile units. Current maneuvers indicate a return to the usual practice of demonstrating power and show that, despite the coronavirus in North Korea, Kim Jong-un decided not to free his army from the exercises.
Relations with Russia may become “an actively developing industry” in the future
– Are China, Russia and North Korea the new “axis of evil”?
“I am careful not to use this concept.” I do not think that Pyongyang fully trusts Moscow and Beijing. There is a historically prevailing and insurmountable distrust. Nevertheless, North Korea sees advantages in working with both large neighbors.
– Everything is clear with China, but what are the advantages of relations with Russia?
– In Russia, the DPRK sees not only a great neighbor, but also a partner who in the future will be able to protect it from excessive dependence on China. Recent important appointments in leadership circles have highlighted people with experience with Russian officials.
– In the coming years, relations with Russia may become a “rapidly developing industry” for the DPRK.
– Among other things, Moscow can be a reliable ally of North Korea in the United Nations Security Council. However, there is an area where the parties have disagreements – this is weapons. Back in Soviet times, Moscow did not want to see a nuclear power in North Korea and still feels uncomfortable with North Korea armed with nuclear weapons on its side.
– Is coronavirus an existential danger for North Korea?
– The regime described the threat of Covid-19 as existential and stated that the virus is a challenge related to the survival of the nation. North Korean health care opportunities are very limited, and the virus most likely has already led to significant casualties. The lack of transparency means that there is practically no way to assess the scale of the crisis within the country.
– Should we be afraid of North Korea?
– No, North Korea can be intimidated, and therefore it ultimately behaves prudently.
“How realistic is the reunion of Korah in your eyes?”
“I don’t think that this will happen during my lifetime, of course, if there isn’t much internal shock in North Korea.” In addition, the demographic development of South Korea does not imply reunification.
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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.