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Confirmed: North Korea Issues Shoot-to-Kill Orders to Prevent Coronavirus Spread

Manogna Shivaprasad

15th September 2020


Pyongyang closed its border with China in January to try to prevent the coronavirus from entering. (Source: AFP)

To prevent the entry of COVID-19 into its country, North Korea issued a shoot-to-kill order for positive cases, according to The Hindu, creating new ‘buffer’ zones at their Chinese border.

Upon closing its Chinese border at Pyongyang in January, state media announced that it had elevated its emergency levels to the maximum in an attempt to avoid contamination.

Till date, North Korea has had zero reported cases of the coronavirus. Experts around the globe have expressed their concern about this, stating that the arrival of cases would significantly impact North Korea’s destitute public health care.

US Forces Korea (USFK) commander Robert Abrams presented new insights on the circumstances in an online conference organised by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. He revealed that the border shutdown had, in turn, increased the demand for smuggled goods, urging authorities to intervene.

Abrams mentioned in the same interview that North Korea had introduced a new buffer zone, one or two kilometres up on the Chinese border, adding that they saw the arrival of North Korean SOF (Special Operations Forces) strike forces, who have received shoot-to-kill orders in place. He added that the significant plunge in Chinese imports entering North Korea is proof the border closure had effectively ‘accelerated the effects’ of economic sanctions imposed on the country due to its nuclear programs.

With the recent typhoon Maysak wreaking havoc over approximately 2000 houses in the country, any major provocations from Pyongyang in the near future is not expected by Abrams. Additionally, he speculated that at next month’s celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the ruling party’s founding, the country might reveal its new weapons system. He further confirmed that currently, North Korea is focused on its medical resources and keeping the virus at bay.

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday: "Kim Jong Un is in good health. Never underestimate him!". Talks of denuclearisation between the US and North Korea earlier this year managed to ease the tensions between the two countries. However, CSIS has published a satellite image of North Korea's Sinpo South naval shipyard, leading experts to believe that the picture shows activity that could indicate preparations for a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

(Sources: Times of India, NDTV, Business Line)

Edited by Nayana Dhanya

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