By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been vaccinated for the new coronavirus with a vaccine developed by China, a U.S. security expert said Monday, quoting Japanese intelligence sources.
The expert also said Kim was given the vaccine only a short time earlier.
"North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and 'multiple other high-ranking officials within the Kim family and leadership network' have been vaccinated for Coronavirus 'within the last two to three weeks' thanks to a vaccine candidate supplied by the Chinese government," Harry Kazianias wrote in an article published by an online magazine, 19FortyFive.
Kazianis serves as a senior director of Korean studies at the Center for the National Interest, Washington-based think tank.
The U.S. expert quoted two unidentified Japanese intelligence sources who, according to the report, refused to identify which candidate vaccine Kim and other ruling elites in the communist North have been given.
The report, however, noted there are currently three to four China-developed vaccines, while one of them stands out as it "has been used by nearly one million people within China."
"While clearly the number of vaccine candidates and vaccinations point to tremendous progress in what is surely a record-setting pace, questions remain over the effectiveness and safety of these vaccines, as no phase three trial data has been published on any Chinese vaccines as of now," it said.
North Korea has yet to report any confirmed case of the new coronavirus infection.
Still, a recent report from the World Health Organization suggests the impoverished country may have had more than 800 "suspected cases."
The North has maintained a tight seal on all its borders since January.
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