Pictures have been posted of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un showing him chairing a coronavirus meeting – amid rumors he is in a coma.
The country’s official news agency KCNA said on Wednesday that Jong-un had gathered the political bureau to call for prevention efforts against the virus and an impending typhoon.
The meeting assessed “some flaws in the state’s emergency anti-epidemic work to verify incursions of the malignant virus,” KCNA said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The meeting was the third high-level political conference in as many weeks, according to AP.
North Korea has yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19, but foreigners largely doubted its virus-free claim
Jong-un defined tasks for the party and public services at all levels, “saying that completely preventing typhoon victims and minimizing crop damage is important work that can never be neglected even for a moment,” he said. paraphrased the head of the KCNA as saying.
Typhoon Bavi on Wednesday morning was near the South Korean island of Jeju and was about to hit the northwest coast of the Korean peninsula around dawn Thursday morning. South Korea’s meteorological agency said it had a maximum wind speed of 155 kilometers per hour (96 mph) and was predicted to be one of the strongest to hit the peninsula this year.
At a meeting last week, the ruling party scheduled a rare congress in January to set development goals for the next five years.
Experts say the coronavirus derailed some of Kims’ main economic goals after North Korea imposed a lockdown that significantly reduced trade with China, its main ally and economic lifeline, and likely hampered its ability to mobilize its workforce.
However, earlier this month, a South Korean official claimed that Jong-un was in a coma.
The 36-year-old has only been seen in public a few times since he allegedly had heart surgery in April.
Photos released recently by North Korean state media showed him attending meetings with senior officials, although questions have been raised as to their authenticity.
Speaking to local media, Chang Song-min, a former aide to late South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung, said he believed regime figures were trying to cover up deterioration in Kim Jong-un’s health. .
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“I think he’s in a coma, but his life is not over,” he said.
Comparisons of commercially available satellite images with reference points in images showing Kim in recent public releases also suggest the images are genuine, reports NK News.
A video released on North Korean state media allegedly shows Kim appearing at the sixth plenary meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on August 19.