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Dhaka Tribune

N Korea shows confidence in face of coronavirus outbreak, says zero case

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un brought the already isolated country to a near standstill by sealing the borders in January to stop the virus

Update : 29 Mar 2020, 06:25 PM

With international focus on the coronavirus, North Korea has doubled down on its missile development and military exercises in recent weeks while signaling new confidence that it has dodged an outbreak of its own.

Many foreign experts are skeptical of North Korea’s assertion that it has not had a single case of the new coronavirus, which was first detected in neighbouring China.

Noth Korean leader Kim Jong Un brought the already isolated country to a near standstill by sealing the borders in January to stop the virus, which halted the trickle of legal trade and tourism.

A week ago, North Korea said US President Donald Trump sent a personal letter to Kim, seeking to maintain good relations and offering cooperation in fighting the outbreak.

A North Korean state media dispatch didn’t say whether Trump mentioned any of the latest weapons tests by the North.

Meanwhile, North Korea on Sunday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea, South Korea and Japan said, continuing a streak of weapons launches that suggests Kim is trying to strengthen domestic support amid worries about a possible coronavirus outbreak in the country.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the projectiles flying from the North Korean eastern coastal city of Wonsan into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on Sunday morning.

The projectiles flew about 230 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometers, the statement said.

The military described the launches as “very inappropriate” at a time when the world is battling the coronavirus outbreak. It urged North Korea to stop such military action.

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