North Korea rejects Covid jabs politely by saying other nations need more

North Korea rejects Covid jabs politely by saying other nations need more

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The international coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis in Northeast Asia (excluding the Russian Federation) is noticeable by the low number of deaths in this part of the world. Thus the death toll in China, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea, and Taiwan concerning vast numbers of people from coronavirus is significantly lower than in other parts of the world.

North Korea, a nation that is isolated to a higher degree than most nations internationally, even closed itself to nations that trade more openly. In 2019, imports to North Korea included China ($2.59 billion), the Russian Federation ($44.9 million), Brazil ($19.9 million), India ($10.4 million), and Honduras ($7.7 million). Exports from North Korea in the same year included ($207 million), Suriname ($19.8 million), Costa Rica ($7.4 million), Ghana ($7.3 million), and Fiji ($7.1 million). However, since the coronavirus crisis, North Korea closed its border even tighter in order to contain the situation.

Henceforth, despite the economic rebound happening in China first – even if slowed down recently – North Korea is still focused on containing the coronavirus crisis. Internally, this means greater self-sufficiency from an already high base before the coronavirus crisis emerged. Therefore, despite its main economic partner being on the path to recovery the nation of North Korea remains suspicious.

The latest offer by the Covax program to provide North Korea with approximately 3 million Covid-19 jabs was politely turned down by North Korea. In July, North Korea also turned down roughly 2 million Covid-19 jabs from AstraZeneca concerning possible side effects. However, this time, North Korea is claiming that other nations need higher priority.

The World Health Organization (WHO) citing recent results provided by North Korea cite no cases of coronavirus. The BBC reports, “Some 37,291 people – including health care workers and those with flu-like illnesses – had been tested and all were found to be negative, the WHO said in its weekly situation report.”

Voice of America (Korean Service) was notified by UNICEF about the stance of North Korea. This agency reports, “The DPRK Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has communicated that the 2.97 million doses being offered to DPR Korea by COVAX may be relocated to severely affected countries in view of the limited global supply of COVID-19 vaccines and recurrent surge in some countries.”

North Korea importantly stated that it remains open to Covax support if the situation changes internally.


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