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Friday, 17 April 2020

Missing? North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Absent From Country’s Biggest Celebration

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was a no-show at the nation’s largest celebration Wednesday, failing to present himself for the “Day of the Sun” — the birthday of Kim Il Sun, the nation’s first dictator.
Instead, North Korean leadership were said to have paid tribute to Kim Jong Un’s direct ancestor, behind closed doors and out of the public eye, according to Fox News.
“The Korean Central News Agency said only that a group of senior government, party and military officials paid tribute at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun for Kim Il Sung’s 108th birthday,” per Fox.
Kim Jong Un, the nation’s current despot, was nowhere to be seen, and official media reports resisted referring to him by name, even when recounting a state visit to the state cemetery, where past North Korean leaders are buried. Wreaths and floral arrangements were “laid at the statues of the great leaders and mosaics picturing their smiling images,” state-run media said, without specifying who visited the tombs.
Kim Jong Un hasn’t missed the annual event since taking power in 2011
Experts told Fox that they believe Kim Jong Un may be avoiding public gatherings because of the novel coronavirus, which is likely to have spread through North Korea, even though the Communist nation denies that it has had a single incidence of the virus, and even though more than 2 million people across the world have been infected.
North Korea is practicing social distancing, and state run media reported in March that the country was closing its border with China and halting trade in order to keep North Koreans safe from the virus. France24 reports that North Korea, through its close relationship with China, may have even known about the outbreak before the rest of the world, allowing it to take extreme measures sooner than other nations.
“Back in January, North Korea sealed its borders and began imposing internal quarantines even before the city of Wuhan in China was fully sealed off, which in hindsight looks like it was actually smart for the most part,” one expert told France24.
CIA analysts told Fox News last month, though, that it was virtually impossible for North Korea to have avoided the virus, but that, as a closed-off nation, information from its government is notoriously unreliable.
“It’s impossible for North Korea not to have a single case of coronavirus,” one analyst told the news network.
“It is a closed-off nation, so we can’t say emphatically that they have cases, but we’re fairly certain they do,” added another. “What I do know is that their armed forces had been fundamentally in lockdown for about 30 days, and only recently have they started routine training again. As one example, they didn’t fly an airplane for 24 days.”
A Japanese news source reported that 100 North Korean soldiers, working along the border, had died of coronavirus, according to Fox. Another — a South Korean newspaper — noted that Kim Jong Un was spending a considerable amount of time away from North Korea’s city centers and government buildings in order to avoid getting COVID-19.

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