Trump confirms he offered North Korea cooperation on coronavirus

Washington, Mar 23 (efe-epa).- United States President Donald Trump confirmed Sunday that he has sent a personal letter to Kim Jong-un, offering assistance to North Korea in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are open to helping other countries,” Trump told reporters during a press conference on the global epidemic at White House.

Trump said it was a very serious time and added that the US had also offered help to Iran which is also facing a tough time.

Information about the letter was made public by Kim’s sister and central committee member of the Workers’ Party, Kim Yo-jong, on Sunday.

It came just a day after the North Korean leader oversaw a test launch of the powerful tactical guided weapon on Saturday, prompting criticism from Seoul in the context of the health crisis and amid the stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

Kim Yo-jong in a statement released by state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the letter sent by Trump was “good judgment” by the US president.

She said it was a step in the right direction to keep the “good relations he had with our chairman” going.

The “personal letter again”, she said, was delivered “at a time when big difficulties and challenges lie in the way of developing the bilateral relations”.

“He (Trump) also explained his plan to propel the relations between the two countries and expressed his intent to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work”, concerning the COVID-19 infections around the world, she said.

Kim’s sister said Trump also “expressed his willingness to keep in close touch with the chairman in the future”, and that the North Korean leader appreciated the personal letter from the US president.

North Korea has so far not reported any coronavirus cases, but on Sunday, its main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, urged the people to keep at least one meter away from one another and avoid public transport to prevent contagion.

Despite highlighting the good relations between the two leaders, Kim Yo-jong warned that the relationship between the two countries “and their development should not be judged in haste” and “neither predictions nor expectations should be made based on them.”

“Nobody knows how much the personal relations would change and lead the prospective relations between the two countries, and it is not something good to make a hasty conclusion or be optimistic about it,” she remarked, underlining the need for “impartiality and balance” for further progress in ties.

Relations between Washington and Pyongyang have progressively cooled since the failed Hanoi summit in February 2019.

Earlier this year, Kim said he saw no reason to maintain the self-imposed moratorium on his nuclear tests and missiles to foster dialog with the US. EFE/EPA


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