By KIM TONG-HYUNG
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The World Health Organization has started shipping COVID-19 medical supplies into North Korea, a possible sign that the North is easing one of the world’s strictest pandemic border closures to receive outside help. WHO says it has started the shipment of essential COVID-19 medical supplies through the Chinese port of Dalian for strategic stockpiling and further dispatch to North Korea. WHO representative told AP the items included emergency health kits and medicine. The country still claims to have a perfect record of fighting the virus and has reported no COVID-19 cases. It recently turned down some Sinovac vaccines offered via the U.N.-backed program. It had severely restricted cross-border traffic and trade for the past two years despite the strain on its crippled economy.