Spy Agency: Kim Is Taking 'Irrational' COVID Measures

South Korean lawmakers were told Kim has banned fishing, ordered executions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 27, 2020 1:59 AM CST
Updated Nov 27, 2020 6:28 AM CST
Spy Agency: Kim Is Taking 'Irrational' COVID Measures
In this Nov. 15, 2020 photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party Politburo in Pyongyang.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered at least two people executed, banned fishing at sea, and locked down Pyongyang as part of frantic efforts to guard against the coronavirus and its economic damage, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Friday. Kim's government also ordered diplomats overseas to refrain from any acts that could provoke the United States as it's worried about President-elect Joe Biden’s possible new approach on North Korea, lawmakers told reporters after attending a private briefing by the National Intelligence Service. One of the lawmakers, Ha Tae-keung, cited the NIS as saying Kim is displaying "an excessive anger" and taking "irrational measures" over the pandemic and its economic impact, the AP reports.

Ha said the NIS told lawmakers that North Korea executed a high-profile money changer in Pyongyang last month after holding the person responsible for a falling exchange rate. He quoted the NIS as saying that North Korea also executed a key official in August for violating government regulations restricting goods brought from abroad. North Korea has also banned fishing and salt production at sea, fearing seawater could be infected, the NIS told lawmakers. North Korea also made an unsuccessful hacking attempt on at least one South Korean pharmaceutical company that was trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine, the NIS said. The agency has a mixed record in confirming developments in North Korea, one of the world’s most secretive nations. North Korea has maintained it hasn't found a single virus case on its soil, a claim disputed by outside experts.

(More North Korea stories.)

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