After Kim Jong-Un sent a “verbal message” to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has offered support to North Korea in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. North’s state-run media reported that Kim had congratulated Xi for “seizing a chance of victory” in the war against the unprecedented epidemic.
In response to the message, the Chinese President appreciated Kim’s support during the virus outbreak in China while showing personal attention to the situation, reported state media. Xi reportedly called for greater cooperation between the two nations to prevent the spread of coronavirus and expressed its willingness to continue providing assistance within its own capacity in the fight against COVID-19.
North Korea is yet to report its first confirmed case of coronavirus which the party’s Politburo had reportedly called a result of the country’s top-class emergency anti-epidemic measures from the outset. It remains almost impossible for foreign media to independently confirm the health condition of North Korea’s leader due to the lack of press freedom.
Reporters Without Borders, in its recent World Press Freedom Index report, said that foreign correspondents are not permitted to investigate the measures taken by Pyongyang to protect itself from the pandemic. The dissemination of news about the coronavirus is also restricted by technical means as the internal transmission of documents is in the hands of the national intranet, putting almost total control of communications.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on May 8 that North Korea has intensified its “anti-epidemic activities” to stop the spread of novel coronavirus. It added that the authorities are steadily taking preventive measures against the “widespread malignant virus infection”.
The Ministry of Public Health has reportedly established an information system for COVID-19 response and stockpiled necessary materials. The state-run media also reported that the health ministry is “actively” pushing ahead with the development of a potential vaccine against the coronavirus as countries around the world is in the race to develop one.