During the pandemic COVID-19 the characteristic secrecy of North Korea reached a new level. For more than two years (between February 2020 and May 2022) the regime of Kim Jong Un He assured that he had not detected any contagion of the deadly virus among his population.
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To date, the north of the Korean peninsula reports between 4,000 and 5,000 suspected cases per day, ensuring that 99% of them have recovered and registering only 73 fatalities from the virus. coronavirus.
The impact that the COVID-19 in the world during the last two years make these figures, like almost everything that comes from Pyongyangare as suspicious as unverifiable.
Kim has turned down offers of shipments from vaccines from the West, but according to the Global Alliance for Vaccination GAVI would be accepting doses produced in Beijing. At the same time, it would not have a sufficient number of discard tests, so one of its indicators is the “fevers”; that is, the presence of symptoms to consider a person probably infected.
However, in Pyongyang the priority seems to be another. Specifically, how did the virus manage to get around its impassable border?
Although the scientific community has shown that the spread of COVID-19 It is produced mainly through the exchange of aerosols between people, increasing the risk when encounters occur in closed and unprotected environments, in North Korea They have concluded that the virus arrived via balloons sent from the South.
Every year, Korean activists launch from the southern border a series of balloons with messages against the regime of Kim Jong Un.
The state agency KCNA reported that an investigation commission created to determine the origin of the virus found that the first cases, that of an 18-year-old soldier and a 5-year-old boy, were registered in the village of Ipho, in the extreme south of the country. country, afterthey had contact with some strange things on a hill around the barracks and the village”.
Therefore, the researchers concludedscientifically and definitively” that the balloons launched from the South were also carriers of the virus.
Seoul has rejected this version and its secret service has revealed that it is most likely that the COVID-19 arrived in the north of the peninsula as a result of the trade they maintain with China.
It should be remembered that Pyongyang has repeatedly criticized Seoul for not stopping activists who launch balloons at the border, so this new investigation seems to be more of an attempt to escalate tension with the South than a genuine desire to determine the route of arrival of the coronavirus.
Tension that, in addition, has been maintained throughout the last decades.
PEAKS AND PLAINS OF TENSION
The century began with an air of hope on the Korean peninsula. The rapprochement between the two governments seemed to reflect the last steps of the war that both halves of the country have been fighting for more than 70 years.
However, relations between the two have become rather a roller coaster that has gone through negotiations, direct threats, fragile agreements and a wave of ballistic tests that seem to bury the peace options between the two. Koreas.
In the following timeline you will find the moments of greatest tension and rapprochement between the governments of the North and the South during the 21st century.