North Koreas leader Kim Jong Un appearing in a face mask on television
North Korea's Kim Jong-Un Claims Victory Over COVID-19 Virus Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP Getty Images

North Korea has declared an end to its Covid-19 pandemic and has begun to reinforce the Storm Corps unit stationed along the China-North Korea border with additional troops to prevent the influx of illegal importation of goods into the country. In a recent meeting, Supreme leader Kim Jong Un made an official declaration on the end of North Korea’s Covid-19 pandemic to reassess the nation’s emergency quarantine efforts. With the end of the pandemic, the threat of smuggling becomes a more pressing issue the country now faces. Government authorities are moving to increase its security personnel around its borders to suppress the potential influx of smuggling activities.

According to a source who spoke to Daily NK, North Korean military authorities are considering deploying more of their Storm Corps special forces unit to bolster its anti-smuggling efforts along the Chinese border. North Korea is said to have the largest special-forces organization in the world, with about 250,000 men and women trained in unconventional warfare. Fact is, they have even designed training programs to attack a replica of the Blue House, which is the official residence of the South Korean president.

The border patrol’s 25th brigade, stationed in Hyesan, Yanggang Province, has taken efforts to review areas that require additional manpower, or in other words, areas that are most likely to experience an increase in smuggling or defections. Once the assessment is completed, it will inform the Storm Corps Headquarters, which will then deploy troops to the areas of vulnerability. The source reportedly stated that the government is extremely worried about people attempting to cross the border, especially with the end nation’s pandemic. In addition, the 25th Brigade believes Ponchon County, Samjiyon County, Taehongdan County, Kimjongsuk County, and Kimhyongjik county are areas that experience the worst smuggling and the most number of defections.

“With the additional deployment of Storm Corps soldiers to the border region, the authorities have once again demonstrated that they have no intention to loosen the border closure,” Kim said.

During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Storm Corps were mobilized to shut down the border. Since then, the special unit has worked alongside border patrol troops to monitor the frontier for vulnerabilities and illegal activity. The additional Storm Corps units are set to be tasked with several missions, including patrolling roads and entry points around the border.

Formally known as the 11th Corps, the Storm Corps is considered the nation’s most elite special forces unit and is currently based in Dokchon County in the South Pyongan province. They are expected to arrive on site this week or early next week at the very latest.

North Korea
North Korea has not logged any COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in late December 2019. However, there's heavy skepticism about the accuracy of these numbers. Kim Won Jin/Getty Images

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