North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un is reportedly displaying “excessive anger” over the economic damage that has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a South Korea’s spy agency.
The Associated Press reported that Kim has been ordering “irrational measures” to slow the spread of COVID-19, going so far as to order the executions of two people. He has also locked down the capital city of Pyongyang and banned fishing at sea.
This was all revealed on Friday by South Korean lawmakers who talked to reporters after a private meeting with the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the country’s chief intelligence agency. During this meeting, the NIS told lawmakers that one of the people who Kim had ordered to be executed was a well-known money changer in Pyongyang, who was reportedly blamed by the dictator for North Korea’s falling exchange rate.
The second executed person was reportedly a top government official who was caught violating restrictions placed on goods from outside the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
North Korea’s economy has been hit particularly hard by coronavirus, as the hermit kingdom was forced to seal its border with China, its biggest trading partner, back in January. Yahoo News reported that Korea’s International Trade Association revealed earlier this week that North Korea’s trade with China shrank 73% through September, and is on track to plummet 80% for the entire year.
The NIS also said that Kim has placed a ban on fishing to stop seawater from being infected with the virus. Full lockdowns have been placed on several regions of North Korea, including the capital and the northern Jagang province.
This comes after it was reported that Kim had issued a brutal threat to anyone who is caught wasting food in his hermit kingdom as it faces yet another famine.
“At the beginning of this month, the Central Committee [of the Korean Workers’ Party] ordered residents to actively participate in solving our food crisis this year as part of a food-saving struggle,” a North Korean official from the nation’s North Hamgyong province told Radio Free Asia.
“The order emphasized that the struggle not only solves the problem of how we will eat, it is a matter of protecting the socialist system,” added the official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It also warned that authorities will step up crackdowns and punishment for any actions related to food waste.”