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N. Korean officials vow to complete Pyongyang hospital by October

All News 11:06 March 20, 2020

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- Senior North Korean officials vowed to complete a general hospital in Pyongyang by October as instructed by leader Kim Jong-un, the country's main newspaper said Friday.

Earlier this week, Kim attended a ceremony to break ground for Pyongyang General Hospital and ordered the construction to be completed by the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Oct. 10.

"The deadline is tight and the goal is challenging, but it is completely up to our efforts and determination as people responsible for producing steel," Yang Ho, vice-minister of the metallurgical industry, said in an article contributed to the country's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

Health Minister O Chun-bok wrote another article vowing to ensure highly skilled doctors and nurses when the hospital opens.

Skepticism has been raised as to whether the North could finish the construction before the deadline amid its nationwide efforts to block the outbreak of the new coronavirus and challenges in securing necessary materials and medical devices due to global sanctions.

North Korea has not reported any case of COVID-19 virus infection, but it has called for nationwide efforts to prevent the virus from breaking out on its soil through intensified border controls and a tightened quarantine process.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) attends a groundbreaking ceremony in Pyongyang on March 17, 2020, for the construction of a modern general hospital, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency the next day. The planned construction of Pyongyang General Hospital is in time for the 75th founding anniversary this year of the ruling Workers' Party. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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