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Attention has now drifted to not the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-Un, but his sister, Kim Yo Jong. As the sibling of North Korea’s dictator, she has managed to place herself as a trusted advisor in his regime and is even responsible for the aggressive rhetoric against the South. Kim used to be viewed as Pyongyang’s happy and smiley diplomat, especially towards the South.
However, now what we are seeing is a new side to Kim, she is behind the snarling denunciations of South Korean President, Moon Jae-in.
She has made public statements in recent weeks, claiming that she can unleash the military to threaten the south and has even destroyed the two years worth of inter-Korean diplomacy.
Kim Jong-Un, North Korea’s Dictator, remains largely out of sight, which has started prompting people to question his health and wellbeing.
Political analysts have also been looking at recent tensions as purely a means of Kim Yo-Jong trying to prove her worth as the country’s next leader.
However, when you look deeper inside North Korea, you start to see a different culprit the new crisis – COVID-19.
North Korea is already a country that struggles when it comes to international sanctions and their economy has started to suffer a sharp downturn.
The reason why is because the country has been needing to seal itself off in order to prevent the spread of the virus from China.
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With a restless population, economic distress is only increasing internal issues and worries that the regime might be experiencing.
It’s also now added a level of desperation to the need for aid from the outside world.
The reason behind the dangerous rhetoric towards the South Korean government is apparently to try and break off the US-driven sanctions regime.
It’s reported that a senior US official in Korea said: “I think they want the South Korean government to put into place legislation that would open up funding streams.”
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This would mean scrapping restrictions on trade and investment with North Korea, in essence bypassing international sanctions.
A Western aid worker who make regular visits to the North said: “The overall situation was improving modestly over past years.”
“It reflects the determination of the people to survive and because they had a bit more freedom to make money in the market.”
When the virus hit in January, North Korea was somewhat prepared having dealt with previous pandemics such as SARS and Ebola.
Late in January the regime made the decision very quickly to close its border with China, which was reciprocated on the other side.
According to the US official, additional units of the Korean People’s Army were deployed on the border to crack down on smuggling operations.
“They didn’t have much choice,” the Western aid worker told me.
“They know what could happen and that is why they reacted the way they did.
“They know their health care system is weak.”
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