South Korean Watchdog agency, sheds light on North Korea’s attempt to lie about its COVID-19 infections
Andrew Kim, senior researcher
In May 2022, North Korea fabricated claims of being a COVID-19-free country but was in a state of emergency. Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s official news agency, admitted a COVID-19 outbreak in North Korea for the first time. “There has been the biggest emergency quarantine front, that has been kept safely over the past two years and three months since February 2020,” the official K.C.N.A. news agency said.
Since then, in July, North Korea’s newspaper ‘Rodong Sinmun’ officially confirmed that the first case of COVID-19 emerged from an area near Ipo-ri, Geumgang-gun, prompting the establishment National Emergency Quarantine Command post.
According to North Korea, a soldier and a child tested positive for COVID-19 after contacting “alien things” carried by balloons flown from South Korea. North Korea asserted its false claim that South Korea was the cause of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The South Korean government couldn’t sit down quietly. According to South Korea’s Unification Ministry, no public balloon attempts were made in early April when North Korea claimed the first COVID-19 outbreak. There are no scientific cases of coronavirus transmission through material or mail.
According to the research, the COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes, and the distance that can be transmitted is up to 2 meters. In the laboratory environment, studies show that the COVID-19 virus can remain infectious in the air for up to three hours, one day on cloth and trees, two days on glass, and four days on stainless steel and plastic.
In this regard, South Korean experts analyzed that coronavirus was introduced during the trade between North Korea and China. North Korea claims there were no cases of mass infection outside of Gangwon-do, but in early May, Sinuiju City was blocked for the first time for a week in the aftermath of the COVID-19 spread in Dandong, China.
The North Korean leadership encourages its people to report everything(even their private life) to the authorities by brainwashing the importance of unconditional honesty toward the Korean Worker’s Party(Nodongdang). However, the North Korean authorities continue to make countless lies to the international community and its people. If North Koreans discover the truth behind the authorities’ propaganda, the repercussions won’t calm down quickly.
In any form of government, the authorities should not deceive their people as citizens. But sadly for North Koreans, they will never have the luxury of having the freedom to receive unfiltered news besides what is provided by their secretive leader.
Despite scientific facts, North Korea continues to blame South Korean leaflets for the COVID-19 outbreak to raise hostility and shut off all contact with them. They are further restricting its people not to touch objects such as leaflets, bank notes, and booklets flown by balloons coming from South Korea. North Korean authorities should know, “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away”.