Tokyo/Beijing, Oct 3 (efe-epa).- Leaders around East Asia on Saturday sent get-well messages to United States President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump after they announced they had contracted COVID-19 a day earlier.
The Trumps were tested for COVID-19 after one of the president’s closest advisers, Hope Hicks, was diagnosed with the infectious disease on Thursday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a message of sympathy to the president – the first time that the dictator has done so for a leader who has contracted the novel coronavirus, such as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
In the message, briefly outlined by state news agency KCNA, Kim said he “heard the sudden news” and “offered his sympathy to the president and the first lady.”
He “sincerely hoped that they would be recovered as soon as possible” and “sent warm greetings.”
Ties between the US and North Korea have been at a low point since the failed Hanoi denuclearization summit in February last year.
Th office of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said he had also sent a message to the Trumps after their announcement.
“My wife and I, along with the South Korean people, wish for the president and first lady’s swift recovery,” Moon wrote. “We’d also like to send special words of solace and encouragement to your family and US citizens.”
On Saturday morning, Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga wrote a message on Twitter.
“Dear President Trump, I was very worried about you when I read your tweet saying that you and Madam First Lady tested positive for COVID-19. I sincerely pray for your early recovery and hope that you and Madam First Lady will return to normal life soon,” he wrote.
In China, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying tweeted late Friday expressing regret over the presidential couple’s diagnosis and hoped for their early recovery.
“Saddened to learn #President and the #FirstLady of the #US tested positive. Hope they both have a speedy recovery and will be fine,” she said.
China-US ties are also going through one of its worst phases in several decades after Washington has repeatedly accused Beijing of being responsible for the pandemic. The two countries have been engaged in a trade war over the last two years, as well as a battle for technological supremacy.
These cracks have been aggravated by recent visits to Taiwan by senior US officials, and US sanctions on Chinese leaders over the human rights situation in Hong Kong.
China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, also took to Twitter to wish for an early recovery for the president and the first lady. “My best wishes to President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS for a speedy and full recovery,” Cui tweeted.
Although there has been nothing official released from President Xi Jinping so far, the official Global Times newspaper, which belongs to the People’s Daily – the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China – also published Saturday some comments from Weibo, dubbed the “Chinese Twitter.”
“Diplomatic decency still exists despite the challenges our two countries face in a wide range of topics,” one Chinese netizen posted.
“I hope he (Trump) will reflect on his strategy in dealing with the coronavirus,” another wrote, according to the Global Times.
Although it was initially indicated that the US presidential couple would convalesce in the White House after their tests returned positive results, it was later decided to transfer Trump to a military hospital on Friday “as a precautionary measure,” where he began taking anti-viral drug Remdesivir.
“Going welI, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!” the president later tweeted Saturday. EFE-EPA