Throughout the entire coronavirus pandemic, North Korea has continued to insist that has had no cases of the deadly virus. This was the case through the original emergence of the virus, through various earlier variants, and now the arrival of Omicron.
Sure, no one in the public health or diplomatic worlds believes the regime in these claims, but they have continued to make them despite the country’s close proximity to the pandemic’s initial epicenter of China.
According to NK News, North Korea has told the World Health Organization (WHO) that it had tested an additional 1,464 people in the last two weeks. According to WHO, North Korea has tested 48,449 people to date.
NK News did note that while North Korea has not reported any positive tests to WHO, state media has been reporting about the spread of the Omicron variant. Korean Central TV, like many other media outlets in the world, has been reporting that the initial two vaccines are not enough to prevent some transmission of the Omicron variant.
Back in November, a UN panel passed a resolution criticizing North Korea for its human rights abuses.
“The urgency and importance of the issue of international abductions, which involves a serious violation of human rights, and of the immediate return of all abductees,” said the resolution, which was backed by Japan and the European Union. The General Assembly, according to Kyodo, is likely to pass the resolution later this month.
Also mentioned in the resolution is “grave concern at the long years of severe suffering experienced by abductees and their families, and the lack of any concrete or positive action,” as well as a denunciation of North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Afterward, the North Korean government denounced the resolution.
“We will never tolerate any attempts that violate the sovereignty of our state and we will continue to resolutely counter to the end the ever-worsening moves of the hostile forces against us,” the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement issued by the Korean Central News Agency.
This comes as North Korea marks Kim Jong-un’s tenth anniversary in power this month, as Kim has ruled the country since the passing of his father Kim Jong-il, in late 2011.
Kim caused a stir earlier this year when he appeared in public having lost a large amount of weight, leading to speculation either that he had gotten healthier, or that he was perhaps ill. South Korean intelligence has reportedly concluded that the North Korean leader is not facing any particular health problem, nor is there any truth to rumors that the Kim appearing in public is a double, ABC News reported back in October.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.