Seoul, South Korea — North Korean authorities have instructed their people to prevent “alien things” from falling near their border with South Korea.
North Korea’s state newspaper Rodong Sinmun published a news report on the origin of the COVID-19 virus and pointed the finger at the materials that arrived from South Korea. The newspaper said two locals showed symptoms of COVID-19 after touching “strange things” at the border.
“The State Emergency Epidemic Prevention Headquarters was in charge of issuing an emergency instruction that emphasized the need to deal with vigilance with the strange things that arrive by the wind and other climatic phenomena and balloons in the areas along the along the demarcation line and borders,” Rodong Sinmun said on Friday.
The influx of non-native objects, especially from the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, has put North Korea’s border on the highest level of alert for the longest period of time since the two Koreas separated in 1953. of flyers and propaganda materials by air Balloons have been a common practice of both sides, but Seoul declared them illegal in 2020.
“It appears to be an attempt to arouse suspicion among North Korean citizens about the propaganda leaflets, an attempt to spread the false idea that the leaflets transmit COVID-19,” Hyung Joong Park, senior researcher at the National Unification Institute of North Korea. Korea, he told ABC News.
Park also explained that they are forming the narrative that COVID was not caused by Party failures but by a premeditated move from the outside.
North Korea has reported more than 4,750 cases of “fever” on Friday and claims that, as of Thursday night, since the pandemic began, more than 99.827% of people who had a “fever” have recovered. There is an extremely limited number of COVID test kits in North Korea, as the regime has refused to accept foreign assistance to help identify patients.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry responded to North Korea’s accusation, saying it sees no chance of viruses entering North Korea through South leaflets, explaining that the timing of the North’s claim of contact with “extraterrestrial materials” in early April does not coincide with the timing of the leafleting which, according to activists in South Korea, took place in late April.
“The South Korea Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization agree that it is impossible to get infected with COVID-19 through the virus that remains on the surface of an object, not to mention that there is no officially confirmed case. of COVID-19 infection through mail or other supplies,” Cha Duck Chul, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Southern Unification, told reporters on Friday.
On Tuesday, the Seoul-based group of defectors Fighters For North Korea claimed to have flown 20 unauthorized balloons carrying masks, painkillers and doses of vitamin C to send support to pandemic-hit North Korea.
“Accusing South Korea’s balloon and leaflets of spreading the virus lays the groundwork for North Korea to take extreme measures against balloon launches on the grounds that it is a threat to national security,” said John Delury, professor from the Graduate School of International Studies at Yonsei University. , he told ABC news.
Eunseo Nam and Hyerim Lee of ABC News contributed to this report.
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