Kim Jong Un reappears after 22-day absence amid coronavirus outbreak

Remigio Civitarese
Февраля 20, 2020

North Korean chief Kim Jong Un rides a horse all through snowfall in Mount Paektu in this graphic released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Oct 16, 2019.

After Kim Jong Il died in 2011, North Korean authorities named his birthday, the 16th of February, the "Day of the Shining Star".During his visit, Kim was accompanied by a familiar line-up of senior officials, including Vice-Chairmen of the State Affairs Commission Choe Ryong Hae and Pak Pong Ju, as well as Premier Kim Jae Ryong.

North Korea reacted strongly to the appearance in China of the epidemic of the new coronavirus which killed more than 1600 people, to the point of closing its border and to suspend all air and rail links with its neighbor, who is also his closest ally.

State media has carried photos of mask-wearing officials holding emergency meetings and images of workers disinfecting public places, including hospitals, schools, railway stations and hair salons.

North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russian Federation and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.

North Korea has poor medical infrastructure and a chronic shortage of medicines, and has taken similar action in the past - it banned tourists for more than four months from October 2014 to keep out the Ebola virus, even though no cases had been reported in Asia.

On Sunday, on Mansu Hill, in Pyongyang, a continuous stream of North Koreans came to lay flowers at the feet of the two giant statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.

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