African Swine Fever 'Decimates N.Korean Pigs'

      September 25, 2019 12:07

      The National Intelligence Service here on Tuesday said North Korea's pig population has been decimated by African swine fever.

      NIS agents told lawmakers that the pig population in North Pyongan Province was wiped out and that "there are no houses that have pork."

      The NIS said North Korean health officials are culling infected pigs, completely banning transport and sale of pork, blocking traffic to the affected area and importing drugs and disinfectants.

      But an agent was quoted as saying ASF "has been detected in many regions in North Korea since July" and that there are "signs of it spreading across the country."

      He said North Korean officials "prohibited workers at pig farms from visiting their ancestral graves during the Chuseok holiday" for fear that they could spread the disease. "We hope to cooperate with North Korea to gather information and conduct joint quarantine efforts, but the North doesn't seem willing," he added.

      Quarantine workers cull pigs at a farm in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday.

      The NIS did not rule out that outbreaks of ASF in South Korea near the demilitarized zone were transmitted from North Korea. "After North Korea reported the outbreak of ASF to an international organization in May, various quarantine measures do not appear to have been implemented properly," the agent said.

      The Unification Ministry sent a message to North Korea back in May and again last Wednesday seeking cooperation on quarantine but has received no response.

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