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N. Korea: Trump Wrote, Wants to Help With Virus

As Kim fires off missiles anew
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 22, 2020 9:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seeking to maintain good relations and offering cooperation in fighting the viral pandemic, Kim’s sister said Sunday. The correspondence came as Kim observed the firing of tactical guided weapons over the weekend, drawing criticism from South Korea, as nuclear talks remain deadlocked. In a statement carried by KCNA, Kim’s sister and senior ruling party official, Kim Yo Jong, praised Trump for the letter at a time when “big difficulties and challenges lie ahead in the way of developing ties" between the countries. She said Trump explained his plan to “propel the relations between the two countries ... and expressed his intent to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work.” She said her brother expressed gratitude for Trump's letter. North Korea has repeatedly said there hasn’t been a single case of coronavirus on its soil. Some foreign experts question that claim and say an outbreak in the North could cause a humanitarian disaster because of its poor medical infrastructure.

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Last month, the State Department expressed concerns about North Korea’s vulnerability to a potential coronavirus outbreak and said it was ready to support efforts by aid organizations to contain the spread of the illness in the North. There was no comment from the White House, notes the AP. Kim Yo Jong said Trump’s letter is “a good example showing the special and firm personal relations” between the North Korean and US leaders. But she said it’s not a good idea to "make hasty conclusion or be optimistic about” the prospect for bilateral relations. “I think that the bilateral relations and dialogue for them would be thinkable only when the equilibrium is kept dynamically and morally and justice ensured between the two countries,” she said. "Even at this moment we are working hard to develop and defend ourselves on our own under the cruel environment which the US is keen to 'provide.'"

(Read more Kim Jong Un stories.)

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