WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- US President Donald Trump sent a letter to North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un, extending help to North Korea for its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
- The letter was confirmed by Kim Jong Un’s policy aid, Kim Yo Jong, who is also his sister — citing that the gesture reaffirmed Trump’s intention to strengthen the ties between the countries and expressed his intent to build international partnerships in the light of fighting the virus.
- Rather than extending attention to other countries, critics think that the president should put his country first, especially that there are reported delays in COVID-19 testing and provision of health supplies.
On Sunday, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency reported that US President Donald Trump has written a letter to Chairman Kim Jong Un, proposing to help in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in North Korea.
As the White House confirmed the sending of the letter, an unnamed senior administration official told The New York Times and Agence France Presse that the letter was aligned with the president’s efforts to engage international leaders with concerns about the health crisis.
Kim Yo Jong, North Korean’s policy aide who is also the Chairman’s younger sister, told in a statement through the news agency that they regard Trump’s effort as “a good judgment and proper action” in keeping the “good relations” he had with Kim Jong Un.
She further said that the letter reaffirmed Trump’s intention to encourage healthy relations between the nations and eagerness to build a partnership to stop the pandemic. The letter also expressed the president’s admiration for the efforts made by the Chairman to protect his people from the dangerous scare of coronavirus.
While Kim Jong Un’s sister mentioned that the leaders’ personal relationship may not be enough to promote better ties between the US and North Korea, she said that the Chairman appreciated Trump’s gesture.
Over the past year, talks between the US and North Korea have been interrupted ever since the scheduled summit in Vietnam last February did not proceed to address North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Since then, Kim has pledged to start the weapons program — backing up what he mentioned in January that his nation was not anymore bound by a moratorium on testing.
International authorities fear that a major outbreak could happen in North Korea given its health system. They suspect that North Korea is hiding the real coronavirus situation in the country, as Pyongyang has insisted that the nation has no cases.
When issues on the letter surfaced, critics prefer for Trump to point his full attention instead to the US — especially that his administration came under fire for delays in rolling out COVID-19 testing and inability to address the shortage of health supplies.