Kim Jong One has imposed a confinement to the city of Kaesong, near the border with the South.
July 27, 2020 8h09
Pyongyang is seeking to impute to Seoul the responsibility for the epidemic
SEOUL — Pyongyang uses the return on its soil of a defector for north korea to accuse Seoul of the presence of the coronavirus, after having denied for months, consider Monday analysts.
The north Korean regime has imposed a confinement to the city of Kaesong, near the border with the South, after having announced to have identified a case “suspected” of the COVID-19 in a defector recently returned to the North across the demilitarized Zone (DMZ) bisecting the peninsula in two, reported this weekend the media in north korea.
For months, the North has argued that the sars coronavirus did not spread on its soil, even when the pandemic emerged in neighboring china, his first diplomatic support and economic. A statement, which questioned the experts.
Experts consider it likely that the coronavirus was already present in North Korea, but that the regime seeks to impute to Seoul, rather than to ally china, the responsibility for the propagation of the COVID-19 on its soil.
Monday, officials in south korea have reported that the person suspected to be the defector crossed the North had never been diagnosed positive for the coronavirus in the South, nor identified as having been in contact with confirmed cases.
Seoul has been praised by many foreign capitals for its very effective response during the onset of the epidemic, with a strategy that is very aggressive screening. More than 1.5 million tests were carried out in the South.
To accept the aid of the South
“North Korea might seek to use the return of the defector to rule out its responsibility in an epidemic that already exists […]”, said the specialist on North Korea, Rachel Lee, a former employee of the american administration.
“She could take the shortcomings of the monitoring south Korean border,” she told AFP. “She might even accuse South Korea of deliberately sent the defector to the North to spread the virus.”
Duyeon Kim, an expert on matters Korean at the International Crisis Group, stated that by wearing the hat in Seoul, Pyongyang “can now legitimately and openly accept the help of the South”.
The North “can also send a message to the defectors in presenting them more as enemies of the State”, she added in a tweet.
Pyongyang has a habit of vilifying the past people in the South and send North of the leaflets of propaganda against the north Korean regime. These actions have contributed to tense up even more inter-Korean relations.
Eleven returns known in five years
It is extremely rare for North Koreans moved to the South returning to their countries of origin, where they risk severe reprisals for having fled, according to the organizations of defense of Human rights.
The ministry south Korean Unification said to have only 11 examples of North Koreans off to the North over the past five years.
And it is even rarer that they do so through the demilitarized Zone, contrary to what its name indicates, is one of the areas most militarized in the world, with mine fields, guard posts and barbed wire.
But the south Korean military stated that it believed that a defector was switched to the North across the estuary of the Han river from the island of Ganghwa.
It has not been officially identified, but some in the media believe that it is a 24-year old man who had come in 2017 in the South, already in crossing a river by swimming. They claim that it is the subject of an investigation for rape in the South.
Last month, this man had appeared on a YouTube channel hosted by another defector. He was told that it took seven hours to cross the border by swimming when it was passed to the South.
In the interview, he had said he then “cried for 10 days,” thinking of his family in the North.
Two people who had recently been in contact with him have tested Sunday, but none was a carrier of the coronavirus, said Yoon Tae-ho, a senior official in south korea.
The health system of north korea is notoriously ill-equipped to deal with an epidemic. Pyongyang had been at the end of January the first country in the world to close its borders to protect themselves from the epidemic.