Pyongyang is not “under lockdown,” sources living in the city told NK News on Friday, rejecting commentary in the Telegraph that suggested a coup d’etat may have taken place in North Korea.
The Telegraph’s suggestion of political instability emerged Friday amid Kim Jong Un’s ongoing public disappearance and a New Focus International report, which this week suggested North Korea recently “restricted entry and exit permissions to Pyongyang”.
“I cannot confirm that the capital is under lockdown,” a source based in Pyongyang told NK News on Friday, adding that there were “no signs of any tense situation in the city”.
The source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of sharing information with media, also questioned the New Focus International claim that entry and exit permissions were preventing businesspeople trying to return to Pyongyang.
“I did not hear anything about the city being locked off from North Korean visitors,” the source said. “This very topic looks a bit strange.”
Another source had no knowledge or experience of any such restrictions being in place and stated that life was “as usual” in and around Pyongyang.
Geoffrey See, director of the NGO Choson Exchange, said that the alleged restrictions were not affecting his work with North Korean participants.
“We have a group on the way out for a training program on entrepreneurship and land development,” said See. “They are leaving this week, we have been in contact with them all of this week, and they just had their passports and exit visas issued three days ago”.
New Focus International, a defector run news and analysis site, reported earlier this week that its source was unable to confirm whether the restriction was “related to Kim Jong-un’s disappearance from the public eye for the past 26 days”.
“The restriction may be more severe this time round due to the meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly having conlcuded (sic) only recently.
“Whether the severe restriction has been placed because Kim Jong-un’s health is poor as outsiders have been suggesting, or it is connected only to the Party’s anniversary celebrations, entry and exit permissions in and out of Pyongyang are prohibited for now,” New Focus International added.
Kim Jong Un’s lack of presence in North Korean media has of late prompted mainstream media to publish some of the wildest coverage of the country in years.
Main picture: Eric Lafforgue
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 399 words of this article.