The South Korean intelligence agency reported on Friday that as a result of a desperate attempt to safeguard against the coronavirus and its damage to the economy, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un authorized at least two people killed and locked down the city of Pyongyang.
The administration of Kim also instructed diplomats abroad to prevent any actions that might offend the United States since it is concerned about the new president's anticipated different approach to North Korea, legislators told the media upon attending the National Intelligence Service's (NIS) private conference.
The NIS has been cited by one of the legislators, Ha Tae-Keung, as saying that Kim shows "excessive anger" and takes "irrational measures" over the pandemic and thus its economic consequences.
Two people already executed
The authorities informed the legislators in a closed-door conference of the parliamentary intelligence committee on Friday that the assassinated North Korean had transported products across customs in the town of Sinuiju on the North Korean border with China, in breach of the quarantine measures related to coronavirus.
Ha stated that the NIS told the legislators that in Pyongyang last month, North Korea killed a high-profile moneychanger after leaving the individual liable for a dropping exchange rate.
They did not even disclose who the two people are by name.
Lockdown in the capital
He quoted the NIS as stating that lately, North Korea brought Pyongyang and the province of northern Jagang into lockdown amid virus issues. It enforced lockdown procedures earlier this month in many other locations where authorities noticed illegal goods and foreign currencies smuggled in.
The NIS also mentioned that North Korea had made an unsuccessful hacking effort on at least one South Korean drug manufacturer seeking to grow a vaccine against the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, North Korea reported that it did not find a single case of coronavirus on its territory, a statement contested by foreign experts. However, it admitted that it is making all-out attempts to avoid the transmission of the infection. Since the North's public healthcare infrastructure is strained and struggles from a severe shortage of medical equipment, a global pandemic may have severe consequences.
North Korea-China relations
In January, the pandemic caused North Korea to close its border with China, its largest trading partner, as well as its aid beneficiary. Along with a string of environmental catastrophes over the summer, the shutdown caused a massive blow to the economy of North Korea, which has now been targeted by U.S.-led restrictions.
In the first ten months of this year, North Korea's relationship with China amounts to $530 million, approximately 25 percent of the corresponding figure last year. Ha cited the NIS as stating that the price of sugar and seasoning has skyrocketed four times.
North Korea instructed foreign diplomats not to offend the United States, as per the NIS conference, advising their diplomats of sanctions if their U.S.-related statements or actions cause some tension in relations with Washington.
The government of North Korea has been quiet over the U.S. electoral results and President Donald Trump, with whom Kim conducted three summits over the nuclear weapons of the North in 2018-19. Although the negotiations ultimately failed, the talks enabled Kim and Trump to establish close relationships and avoid the blunt insults they had recently traded and promises of destruction.
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