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Concerns around Kim Jong-un’s health have again been raised, after new photos of the North Korean leader emerged. Joseph Siracusa, a political analyst and professor in the School of Global Studies at RMIT University, said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “doesn’t look well in the pictures that we see”. This comes after a flurry of false rumours and speculation earlier this year that the North Korean leader had been gravely ill or was even dead.
New photos emerged from a recently-convened emergency meeting in Pyongyang meant to handle the coronavirus crisis.
The North Korean leader called the meeting after the country reported its first possible case of COVID-19, prompting the urgent lockdown of one of the hermit kingdom’s cities.
Professor Siracusa said: “Kim has made it very clear that North Korea did not have coronavirus up until now.
“That this was a case inflicted upon them and brought in by South Korea.”
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At the meeting, North Korean leader spoke with his ruling Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee.
The leading analyst claimed that Kim’s recent remarks are “shorthand for Trump that he needs financial assistance”.
He told Sky News Australia: “I think the COVID thing is far more serious in North Korea than we know of.”
Professor Siracusa cited past famines that were kept largely secret in the country and were “barely seen” by the global media.
The Australia expert suggested that the North Korean dictator has “cover-up” the scale of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The coronavirus emergency first arose after the Korean Central News Agency confirmed a “runaway” who left North Korea three years ago had returned illegally from South Korea on July 19 and displayed symptoms of COVID-19.
After several medical tests provided uncertain results, the individual was quarantined, and everyone in Kaesong city who came into close contact with the person or who had been in the city in the last five days is under investigation, examination and quarantine.
The lockdown in Kaesong, a city with an estimated population of 200,000, began Friday afternoon.
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Until now, North Korea was one of the few countries in the world with no confirmed cases of coronavirus.
However, this claim has been questioned by outside experts.
At the emergency meeting last weekend, the supreme leader of DPRK voiced concern, claiming it was a “critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country”.
Experts fear that an outbreak in North Korea could cause dire consequences because of its fragile public health care infrastructure and chronic lack of medical supplies.
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