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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 16:00 March 06, 2020

SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N.K. shuts down hot springs resort, public facilities over coronavirus concerns

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has closed a new spa resort in the central county of Yangdok as part of efforts to prevent the new coronavirus from breaking out in the country, state media said Friday.

North Korea imposed a temporary ban on the operation of several public facilities on Feb. 25 as an emergency measure to prevent an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, according to the Pyongyang Times, an English-language weekly.

"As a result, the Yangdok Hot Spring Resort does not receive tourists except bathers," it said.

N.K. leader oversees politburo meeting on coronavirus response

SEOUL, Feb. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party and discussed coronavirus prevention measures, including strengthening testing and quarantine efforts, state media said Saturday.

North Korea has yet to report a case of COVID-19 but has intensified its preventive efforts across the country, calling its fight against the virus is a "political matter" that will determine the fate of the country.

"In case the infectious disease spreading beyond control finds its way into our country, it will entail serious consequences," Kim was quoted by the North's Korean Central News Agency as telling the expanded politburo meeting.

N. Korean newspaper warns officials against corruption

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's main newspaper warned senior officials against corruption Monday, just days after leader Kim Jong-un fired a top Workers' Party official in a move seen as aimed in part at allaying public grievances amid deepening economic woes.

On Saturday, state media reported that Kim had presided over an expanded politburo meeting and dismissed Ri Man-gon and another official from the vice chairman posts of the Party Central Committee while disbanding the committee's cadre training base over corruption and irregularities.

"When officials abuse their power and bureaucracy and are only concerned with their own interests, it destroys the core of our party and revolution," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling party, said Monday.

N. Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles into East Sea: JCS

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Monday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, the first such launches since it warned of "a new strategic weapon" early this year.

The projectiles were fired from areas near its eastern coastal city of Wonsan towards the northeast at 12:37 p.m. within a 20-second interval, the JCS said, adding that both flew around 240 kilometers, reaching a maximum altitude of around 35 km.

"South Korean and the U.S. intelligence authorities are analyzing their type. We found some similarities in features between what it fired today and those launched last year," a JCS officer told reporters.

N. Korea says leader Kim inspected long-range artillery strike drill

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a long-range artillery firing drill, state media said Tuesday, a day after South Korea said the communist nation fired what appeared to be two ballistic missiles.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that the North fired two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast in the first such launches since Pyongyang warned early this year it will show off a "new strategic weapon."

Pyongyang's state media said Tuesday that Kim oversaw a "firepower strike drill" by long-range artillery units.

N. Korea quarantines over 7,000 over coronavirus: Seoul's spy agency

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has put at least 7,000 people under quarantine to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading into the country, Seoul's spy agency told lawmakers Tuesday.

"While North Korea has not yet confirmed the outbreak in the country, South Korea is closely monitoring the situation as people are put under quarantine in Gangwon and Pyongan Provinces," Rep. Lee Eun-jae of the main opposition United Future Party said, quoting the National Intelligence Service as having said during a parliamentary session.

"There are possibilities that North Koreans who visited China before the borders were closed may have been infected with the virus," Lee added.

N.K. leader's sister calls artillery strike drill 'self-defense'

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un slammed the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday for complaining about the North's projectile launches, saying the firing drill was an act of self-defense.

Kim Yo-jong, the first vice department director of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party, claimed that it makes no sense for the South to take issue with the North's self-reliant exercises while it has "enjoyed" joint military exercises with the United States.

Kim said the South's attitude will only deepen the North's mistrust, hatred and contempt toward it.

N. Korea allows female workers to care for kids at home amid school closures

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has allowed female workers to stay home if they have no other family members to take care of children after nurseries were closed and the opening of schools was postponed due to coronavirus concerns, state media reported Wednesday.

Last week, the North said that it extended the vacation for daycare centers, kindergartens and schools as part of all-out efforts to prevent the virus spreading there from China and other countries.

"With regard to the temporary suspension of the operation of daycare centers, an unprecedented measure has been taken to allow female workers without any others who can care for their kids to stay at home and take care of them," DPRK Today, a North Korean propaganda media outlet, said in an article.

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