As the coronavirus death toll in Iran soars, with western media organizations reporting a death toll north of 200, North Korea has remained a vexing cypher amid whispers about gruesome executions and a rash of cases along the country's northern boundary.
According to Scott Snyder writing in Forbes, the North Korean leadership declared preventing the spread of the coronavirus as a matter of "national survival" and moved rapidly to close its borders during the early days of the outbreak. NK was actually one of the first countries to close its border with China, beating Russia by a few days.
Still, many suspect the country still didn't act quickly enough, and it's likely a few infected Chinese tourists or businessmen probably entered the country at some point, particularly the border area in the north, as Forbes points out. Hence, NK's heavy handed response to citizens who put the public at risk.
To prevent a devastating outbreak, the North Korean regime has leveraged the same level of civil discipline that made this insane placard display possible.
According to the Washington Post, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is ratcheting up the pressure on his inner circle, warning that if they screw up and fail to contain an outbreak, they might be the next general to be publicly executed via anti-aircraft missile in front of a rabid crowd of brainwashed, Kim-loving syncophants baying for your blood.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned of "serious consequences" if coronavirus reaches his country, the state-run Korea Central News Agency reported Saturday.
Kim convened a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s politburo, where the battle against the virus was called a "crucial state affair for the defense of the people" that required maximum discipline.
The politiburo also vowed stricter enforcement of "top-class anti-epidemic steps," KCNA reported.
"In case the infectious disease spreading beyond control finds its way into our country, it will entail serious consequences," KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
North Korea says it does not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus, although news services with contacts in the country have reported suspected cases in cities bordering China.
So far, NK has relied on a similar approach to Beijing: Quarantines and strict transportation restrictions.
State media says a month-long quarantine period had been imposed for people showing symptoms. North Korea has banned all tourists, stopped all flights and trains from coming and going, shut down almost all border trade and placed foreign diplomats under virtual house arrest in a bid to prevent the virus entering from China.
Amazingly, it looks like the Kim regime is going to make it through this crisis with its legitimacy intact.
That's not a good sign for negotiations with the US, which were just a charade anyway.