In nighttime photos from space, North Korea looks like a black hole compared to the well-lit South. It’s an apt metaphor for what we know about what’s going inside the DPRK now: Nada.
That absence of information poses a real problem when a global health threat is on the loose. And the coronavirus is most definitely a global threat.
Though we can only guess what’s going on in Kim’s dark kingdom, it’s hard to imagine a rosy scenario.
What we do know is that the government in Pyongyang has announced that its border with China is closed. Is the virus already across? Will it find its way in any way? Even if the correct answer to both questions is “no,” North Korea still has a problem. Lack of trade and travel, even a temporary ban, will further cripple the economy of what is already the poorest country on earth. The bottom line: Starving North Koreans will starve more.
Odds are that North Korea can tough it out in the short term. Flu season should abate in April. The contagion will then be less of a concern, at least until the autumn. The