Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un
PIC: AFP

Hundreds of flights were canceled in South Korea while North Korea's leader expressed concern about a potential loss of lives and crops as the countries braced for a fast-approaching typhoon forecast as one of the strongest to hit their peninsula this year.

Packing a maximum wind speed of 162 kilometers per hour, Typhoon Bavi was already lashing South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju on Wednesday afternoon.

South Korea's weather agency said the typhoon will start to affect the mainland at night before making landfall in western North Korea early Thursday. The agency warned of possible severe damage caused by very strong winds and heavy rainfall.

More than 460 domestic flights in and out of Jeju were canceled as of Wednesday afternoon. In a rare display of urgency, Kim Jong Un held his third high-level political conference in as many weeks, where he raised alarm about the nation's coronavirus response and a typhoon forecast to hit the country early Thursday.

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