North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly decreed that a region of the hermit kingdom be "war-ready" before rumors of his declining health and possible death began circulating. This information -- newly released via Daily NK -- continues to add to the mystery of the current state of affairs in the communist nation.
According to the report, the Ministry of State Security (MSS) built two high-security sentry posts on the Kaegogae Pass earlier this month. The pass is the major entry point into Chagang Province from China, which fueled some hypotheses that the checkpoints may have been related to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Daily NK reported that Kim ordered the construction of the new checkpoints and that they were established to "better monitor the movement of people and goods into the area."
Kim reportedly used urgent and aggressive language in his directive.
"In the orders, Kim said that Chagang Province must be 'war-ready' and that during a war it has to act as a second 'capital' of the country where both the supreme commander and war commanders can conduct their activities. His orders also stressed that the province must become an impregnable military zone. " a source said.
"The newly built checkpoints allow sentries to stop cars and train and they have the authority to search, seize and detain anyone or anything they find suspicious. They can even prevent trains from moving across the provincial border. Their authority is unlimited."Chagang Province's proximity to China is not the only characteristic of note about the region. It is also the location of many of North Korea's military factories, thanks to the area's defensive mountainous terrain. Some of these facilities allegedly manufacture North Korea's top secret weapons.
Though the timing of these protective measures is curious in light of the recent rumors surrounding Kim and his health, sources have also postulated that officials are worried about the emergence of black market trade, as pay for factory workers has substantially decreased due to electrical shortages throughout the country.
Insiders noted that in similar scenarios in the past, workers had "siphoned" off raw materials to sell in order to make ends meet, which would be particularly dangerous in such a weapon-filled area.
Kim Jong Un has recently dominated headlines after a number of reports suggested that he was either in a vegetative state or had passed away after a botched heart surgery. However, more recent news has suggested that the leader is in hiding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported by The Inquisitr.