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US: North Korea issues shoot-to-kill orders to avoid coronavirus

By Suvan Bose

According to the commander of US forces in the South, North Korean authorities have issued shoot-to-kill orders to avoid the coronavirus entering the country from China. The indigent North, whose collapsing health system would struggle to cope with a major virus outbreak, has not confirmed a sole case of the disease that has wiped the world since first an evolving in China, the North’s key ally.

In January Pyongyang closed its border with China to try to avoid contamination, and in July state media reported that it had lifted its state of emergency to the maximum level. US Forces Korea (USFK) commander Robert Abrams told that the border shutdown had raised the demand for smuggled goods, inciting authorities to intercede.

The North brought a new “buffer zone, one or two kilometres up on the Chinese border,” On Thursday Abrams said to an online conference organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. The border closure had appropriately increased the effects of economic sanctions established on the North over its nuclear programs, he added, with imports from China plunging 85 per cent.

The isolated country is also contending with the aftermath of Typhoon Maysak, with its state media reporting more than 2,000 houses have been inundated or destroyed. As a result, Abrams did not hope to see any major incitement from Pyongyang shortly, even though he told that it might show off a new weapons system at next month’s ceremony of the 75th anniversary of the founding of Kim Jong Un’s ruling party.

But CSIS published on their website a satellite picture of North Korea’s Sinpo South naval dockyard, which its expert’s regard shows movement that could display preparations for a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile. A new North Korean missile test would be yet one more sign of the dearth of development in denuclearization talks between the US and Pyongyang, which have been hindered despite numerous meetings between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

Trump, who is pursuing reelection in November, was the initial sitting US leader to become an associate of the Kim dynasty, which has ruled North Korea since its founding. Trump tweeted on Thursday, without additional clarification: “Kim Jong Un is in good health. Never underestimate him!”

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