North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, confirmed in an official statement Sunday that President Donald Trump sent a letter to her brother formally offering help to the nation in its fight against the Chinese coronavirus.
North Korea continues to insist it has documented zero cases of the virus, a claim met with skepticism by many experts.
In a statement shared by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state propaganda outlet, Kim’s sister Kim Yo-jong, called the letter “a good example showing the special and firm personal relations” between the two leaders. The statement did not say when the letter was received.
Kim said Trump’s letter “expressed his intent to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work, saying that he was impressed by the efforts made by the Chairman [Kim Jong-un] to defend his people from the serious threat of the epidemic.”
According to the statement, the letter said that despite good personal relations between the leaders, “if impartiality and balance are not provided and unilateral and greedy intention is not taken away, the bilateral relations will continue to aggravate.”
A senior Trump administration official confirmed President Trump sent the letter, saying it was “consistent with his efforts to engage global leaders during the ongoing pandemic.” The official added that President Trump looks forward to continued communications with Kim.
A day before at a White House press briefing, Trump said Washington would be open to helping North Korea fight the Chinese coronavirus.
“On North Korea … and others, we are open for helping other countries. It is a very serious time. North Korea’s going through something … I have put the – it’s really a glad hand, to North Korea … and to many other countries,” said President Trump at the White House press conference Saturday.
Despite this recent statement from North Korea regarding the letter from President Trump, South Korea claims North Korea has not reached out for assistance in its fight against the Chinese coronavirus. As reported Monday, a senior ranking South Korean foreign ministry official called the lack of action “regrettable,” considering the availability of help from both the United States and South Korea.
North Korea has attempted a series of missile launches amid the pandemic, including the launch of two apparent short-range missiles into the sea within the past few days, according to South Korean military officials. North Korea says it has zero Chinese coronavirus cases, a claim disputed by international authorities.
Originating in Wuhan, China, at the end of last year, the Chinese coronavirus has infected 8,961 and killed 111 in South Korea at press time Monday.