Across the border.
North Korea's Kim Jong-un has declared victory against COVID-19 and his sister is reportedly blaming her country's outbreak on South Korea.
Our Unification Ministry Correspondent Han Seong-woo explains.
Three months after admitting it had an outbreak, North Korea has declared victory in its battle against COVID-19.
The Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday that Kim Jong-un gave a speech the day before at a mass meeting on antivirus measures, where he (quote) "solemnly declared the victory in the maximum emergency anti-epidemic campaign for exterminating the novel coronavirus."
Kim also revealed the regime would lower its so-called "maximum virus prevention system" back to a normal level but cautioned against complacency, saying that the global health crisis is still ongoing in neighboring countries and that it's too early to completely lift curbs including border lockdowns.
In a surprise move, his sister Kim Yo-jong also spoke during the meeting and blamed the spread of the virus in the North on "alien objects" and anti-Pyeongyang leaflets flown in on balloons from activists in South Korea. Calling them "crimes against humanity," she reportedly warned of intense retaliations even threatening to "wipe out" South Korean authorities should the practice continue.
Kim also said her brother himself had suffered from fever symptoms, saying that even though the leader was (quote) "seriously ill with a high fever, he could not lie down for a moment thinking about the people he had to take care of."
Kim Yo-jong's appearance reportedly marked the first time her speech on an official platform has been made public on state media.
Pyeongyang's victory declaration comes amid an extremely low fatality rate of 74 reported deaths despite no known rollout of vaccines leading observers to widely question its validity.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.