Economic Contraction

North Korean economy contracts following COVID-19 pandemic


One thing has been constant since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: North Korea has claimed to have no cases of the virus.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization said North Korea claimed it had no cases of the virus, after testing 1,492 people, according to NK News. That brings the total tested in that country to just under 50,000. Of course, North Korean health experts and watchers are very skeptical that the regime has successfully tackled the spread of the pandemic with it. as successful as he claims.

Earlier this week, Charged Affairs examined the impact of the pandemic on North Korea. The report quotes a statement by the North Korean Foreign Ministry that “the isolation and quarantine measures … of the DPRK Party and government [and] “Concerted action and mobilization of all society and all people” are the reasons North Korea has successfully avoided the virus.

The measures taken by North Korea, according to Charged Affairs, have included closing its border with China, putting in “draconian restrictions on domestic travel,” as well as “strict quarantine regulations for plausible cases of COVID-19 ”, although North Korea continues to insist it has no such cases. These measures in turn resulted in a major economic contraction in North Korea.

The report adds that North Korea’s health and hospital infrastructure remains relatively primitive, with underqualified doctors and old facilities that sometimes lack running water. The restrictions have also led to even greater food insecurity in North Korea. However, North Korean elites have access to much better health care.

Last November, Andrew Yeo of the Brookings Institution wrote a report examining North Korea’s response to the pandemic. Yeo also wrote the new book “State, Society and Markets in North Korea (Elements in Politics and Society in East Asia)”.

Its report found that North Korea’s economy contracted 4.5 percent in 2020. This was largely due to a significant drop in trade with China. This led economist Bradley Babson to declare that the COVID restrictions “have accomplished in a matter of weeks what the United Nations Security Council sanctions have failed to achieve since their expansion in 2017”.

“In the short term, North Koreans will continue to suffer from hunger, malnutrition and other chronic health problems unrelated to the coronavirus, including tuberculosis,” the Brookings report said. “When the borders begin to reopen, North Korea’s domestic markets will reappear. If Kim manages to maintain control over legitimate markets as part of ‘our style’ socialism, the regime is likely to succeed more. long term.”

Stephen Silver, Technology Writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist, and film critic who also contributes to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Revoir and splice today. Co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.