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Vaccine-free North Korea claims no infections, tightens border controls

The NIS told South Korean lawmakers that Kim Jong-Un doesn't appear to have any health problem despite his recent weight loss.
FPI / July 14, 2021

There are no signs that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has taken the Covid vaccine. In fact, South Korea’s spy agency said there is no sign any foreign vaccines have been delivered to North Korea.

The South’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers in a closed-door briefing last week that it hasn't detected any information that North Korea has acquired vaccines, according to Ha Tae-Keung, one of the legislators who attended the session.

Kim Jong-Un reportedly recently berated top officials for ''crucial'' failures in coronavirus prevention that he said caused a ''great crisis.'' But Kim’s regime continues to claim a perfect record in fending off the virus from its territory, an assertion that is widely questioned by outside experts.

The World Health Organization said last week that North Korea has reported to it that it has tested 31,794 people for the virus through June 24 and that all were negative.

Another lawmaker, Kim Byung-Kee, quoted the NIS as saying that North Korea's government is trying to dispel any expectations among ordinary citizens that they will receive vaccines from abroad and is instead urging them to boost their anti-virus vigilance.

Kim Byung-Kee said North Korea is building guard posts and concrete structures along its border with China to prevent illegal border crossings as part of its anti-virus steps. He said the lawmakers were told that North Korea isn't even allowing the entry of diplomats from China, its main ally and aid benefactor.

COVAX, the U.N.-backed program to ship Covid-19 vaccines worldwide, said in February that North Korea could receive 1.9 million doses in the first half of the year.

That shipment has not yet been made, and there have been no reports that North Korea has tried to secure vaccines elsewhere for its 26 million people.

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