The spread of COVID-19 in North Korea is not all bad news for leader Kim Jong Un. By locking down the entire country, he can assert the power of his regime as never before. He has the authority to arrest anyone perceived to have broken the rules for any reason, whether in quest of food or the need to see a friend or to look for medicine.
He can also blame the scourge on a network of health officials. Their survival is now in jeopardy. Some of them, having been in contact with victims of the disease, may be ill, but all have to fear for their lives while Kim investigates how the disease broke out on a mass level. He’s calling for “correcting deviations revealed in the supply of medicines” when it’s well known North Korean medical facilities are largely bereft of medicine of any kind, much less any capable of curing COVID-19…
“Kim is facing a lot of instability right now, being unable to feed his people, provide for their consumer needs, and deal with the COVID outbreak,” said Bruce Bennett, Korea watcher at the RAND Corporation.. “Kim tries to describe himself as a God-like figure—how could he let things like this happen? And so he must blame others… I expect that there are quite a few purges going on in North Korea to confirm the responsibility of others for the problems.”
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