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North Korean Leader Lashes Out Over Hospital Construction Delays

Offices at the Phyongchon District People's Hospital are disinfected to help curb the spread of the coronavirus on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lashed out at officials over delays in the construction of a new hospital in Pyongyang and ordered them to be sacked.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported Monday that Kim berated the construction managers during a recent visit to the site of the new Pyongyang General Hospital and “pointed out serious problems arising in economic organization related to the construction.”

KCNA says Kim specifically called out the building commission for “haphazardly” going through with the project without a proper construction budget, and that it was burdening the people of North Korea with demands for “assistance projects.”

Kim is quoted as saying that if “left on its own devices” the commission “could end up tarnishing the image of the [ruling] party.”

The troubled hospital project comes amid speculation that North Korea may be having difficulties securing construction materials due to U.S.-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile programs, as well as tightened border controls over the coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea claims it has not had a single COVID-19 case since the virus was first detected in neighboring China late last year.