ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
N Korea at crossroads

North Korea turns to China for help as COVID cases explode

Pyongyang likely to think hard before accepting vaccines from abroad

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a pharmacy in Pyongyang on Sunday.   © KCNA/Kyodo

SEOUL -- After more than two years of insisting it was COVID-free, North Korea is now battling a massive surge of infections and is reaching out for help to its closest ally and main economic benefactor: China.

Last Thursday, North Korean media said the country was fighting its "first-ever" COVID outbreak after the omicron variant was detected on May 8 in Pyongyang. At a Politburo meeting the same day, leader Kim Jong Un wore a mask in public for the first time, and ordered all cities and counties across the nation to "thoroughly lock down" their regions.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more