North Korea on Sunday test-fired two more projectiles that are presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles. It was the fourth missile launch this month alone. The North has apparently been hit as hard as many other countries by the coronavirus epidemic but is in deep denial and is wasting its sparse resources on missile launches instead. More than 100 North Korean soldiers are thought to have died of the disease. The commander of the U.S. Forces Korea has said, “What I do know is that their armed forces has been fundamentally on lockdown for about 30 days, and only recently have they started routine training again.” Some data suggest that the North’s food imports from China in January and February of this year declined 90 percent compared to November and December of 2019 after the North closed its borders, and food prices have surged 30 to 40 percent. That shows just how tough living conditions are for the average North Korean.
Even U.S. President Donald Trump and the UN Security Council have pledged aid to fight the virus. Trump sent a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un promising to cooperate in fighting the epidemic, while the UNSC authorized support from Switzerland. International aid agencies are sending diagnostic kits and disinfection products to North Korea. They are all extending a helping hand because they know how dire the shortage of necessary products in the North is.
But Kim has responded by test-firing more missiles. The North used mobile launchers, allowing them to be fired just 20 seconds apart to an altitude of 30 km and a distance of 230 km. The interval between firings was similar to previous tests, but the altitude has apparently been lowered, so now they are harder for South Korean and U.S. forces to shoot down.
The North Korean regime has resorted to provocations in a time of unprecedented global crisis in order to keep its people in line. It has shown little concern for food shortages that are killing them and the suffering of those infected with coronavirus. The true face of the Kim Jong-un regime is the ugliest in the world.
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