Weekly Insights and Analysis

North Korea’s H1N1 Watch: Isolation Vs. Contagion

December 16, 2009

By Scott Snyder

For a country that appears to be so isolated from the outside world, North Korea seems to have been on edge for months regarding the possible impact of swine flu (H1N1) on its population. These rumors of North Korean anxiety have been underscored by an unusual admission last week of nine confirmed cases of swine flu in Pyongyang and Sinuiju (the WHO has reported that all nine have recovered), but these cases may be the tip of the iceberg. North Korea’s admission has prompted a South Korean offer to supply 500,000 doses of Tamiflu to the North and an unusual North Korean acceptance of the South’s offer on Thursday, December 10.

If negotiators can agree on how the assistance will be delivered, South Korea’s delivery of the medicine will mark the first case in which the North has actually accepted assistance from the Lee Myung-bak administration.

Read the full piece in the Council on Foreign Relations blog Asia Unbound.

Scott Snyder directs The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy. He can be reached at [email protected].

Related locations: Korea
Related topics: Center for U.S.-Korea Policy, North Korea


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About our blog, In Asia

In Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia's development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.

In Asia is posted and distributed every Wednesday evening, Pacific Time and is accessible via email and RSS. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].