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Kim Jong-un: North Korea expert explains leader’s emotion
Gavi, a Switzerland-based group global vaccine alliance, has received a request from North Korea for coronavirus jabs. In December the group announced they had access to nearly two billion doses of coronavirus vaccines for 190 participating economies.
The Wall Street Journal reported a person familiar with the application said North Korea wants access to Gavi’s stockpile of coronavirus jabs.
The vaccine alliance has not issued a statement confirming whether North Korea has requested jabs.
Gavi is expected to deliver 1.3 billion doses of approved vaccines to 92 low and middle-income economies this year.
North Korea is part of the alliance, which has signed an agreement of 170 million doses from Oxford and AstraZeneca and reached an understanding with Johnson & Johnson for 500 million doses of their jab.
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A spokesperson for Gavi said they were currently conducting assessments of their members requests for vaccines.
Deliveries of the alliances stockpile of jabs are expected to begin by spring this year.
North Korea has reported zero cases of coronavirus, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported around 12,000 people have been tested as of December 17.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that thousands of North Koreans have been quarantined, despite reporting no cases.
South Korea has thrown skepticism onto North Korea’s claims of having no cases of coronavirus.
The South’s foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said it was “hard to believe”, and pointed to the countries restrictions as evidence.
Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong lashed out at the claims, and said: “Her real intention is very clear.
“We will never forget her words and she might have to pay dearly for it.”
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North Korea has implemented draconian measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, according to reports from sources in the country.
Borders to neighbouring countries have been heavily policed, with North Korea closing off entry to China completely last year.
The closure has devastated trade with China, with the Korea International Trade Association claiming Sino-North Korean trade fell 99.4 percent from 2019 last year.
North Korea has also deployed its Storm Corps special forces along the Chinese border to enforce the blockade.
Reports in November also claimed a soldier died after accidentally detonating landmines being placed on the border to China.
Radio Free Asia said the explosives were placed to prevent defectors from fleeing the country, despite officially claiming they were planted to protect the border.
A South Korean was also shot last year after being spotted in North Korean waters, before being set on fire by Northern soldiers.
The incident prompted a rare apology from Kim Jong-un to South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who said the killing was “regrettable”.
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