March 16, 2020 12:04
North Korean troops have just emerged from a 30-day lockdown amid the coronavirus scare, U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams claimed last Friday. Adams said he is "fairly certain" that North Korea has cases of coronavirus.
In a video press briefing for Pentagon reporters, Abrams said, "What I do know is that their armed forces has been fundamentally on lockdown for about 30 days, and only recently have they started routine training again."
The North Korean Air Force did not fly a single aircraft for 24 days before resuming routine training sorties, he said. The North "is a closed-off nation so we can't say emphatically that they have cases, but we're fairly certain they do."
"You've seen the public statements by North Korea," he added. "They claim that they have no COVID-19 cases."
South Korean military authorities have concluded based on analysis of leader Kim Jong-un's movements that coronavirus has reached epidemic proportions there. "Kim Jong-un has been away from Pyongyang for more than two weeks. This seems to have something to do with the coronavirus spread there," a government source here speculated.
Meanwhile, Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the U.S. believes that the North is gearing up to test a new intercontinental ballistic missile.
"While Kim did not specify what this new weapon would be, recent engine testing suggests North Korea may be prepared to flight test an even more capable ICBM design that could enhance Kim's ability to threaten our homeland during a crisis or conflict," O'Shaughnessy said.
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