April 10, 2020
Observers say North Korea is one of the countries most vulnerable to the epidemic due to its geographical proximity and deep trade relationship with China.
In an interview with the US-based North Korean Human Rights Commission, Kim Myung said that such allegations are propaganda, and that the actual number of both injuries and deaths "is beyond imagination."
Myung, a former North Korean official, added that his country is one of the countries most vulnerable to the epidemic due to its geographical proximity and its deep trade relationship with China, the source of the epidemic in the world.
The North Korean defector also noted that "the health care system in his country is fragile and unstable, while the people have long suffered from chronic malnutrition and weakened immunity" and this could exacerbate the crisis.
The regime in Pyongyang repeatedly insists that there are no cases of coronavirus, primarily due to the government's rapid move to stem the spread of the disease, including closing the border with China.
But Myung asserts that "North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, does not care much that the nation is on the verge of another humanitarian catastrophe that simulates that which occurred during the time of his father in the mid-nineties and that killed three million people as a result of starvation."
As part of its efforts to combat the virus, Pyongyang has sacked thousands of residents and hundreds of foreigners, including diplomats, and has carried out purges, and the state media constantly urges citizens to comply with health directives.
However, experts said North Korea was particularly vulnerable to the virus because of its weak medical system.
The US military commander in South Korea, General Robert Abrams, said last week that Pyongyang's assertion that there were no "incorrect" cases.