Trump Offers to Help Kim Jong-un Fight Coronavirus

  • By Yu Yong-weon, Cho Yi-jun

    March 23, 2020 12:22

    U.S. President Donald Trump has written to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offering support in fighting the coronavirus epidemic, Kim's sister Yo-jong said Sunday.

    The letter came just a day after the Kims watched yet another short-range ballistic missile test.

    In a statement carried by the official [North] Korean Central News Agency, Kim Yo-jong said Trump "expressed his intent to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work" and praised Kim Jong-un's "efforts" to fight coronavirus.

    Live artillery rounds are being fired at an unidentified location near the North Korean west coast on Friday, in this grab from the [North] Korean Central Television. /Yonhap

    Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also offered humanitarian support to North Korea and Iran.

    The letter is "a good example showing the special and firm personal relations" between the North Korean and U.S. leaders, she claimed, but added, "In my personal opinion, 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."

    "Even at this moment we are working hard to develop and defend ourselves on our own under the cruel environment which the U.S. is keen to 'provide.'"

    North Korea has carried out three missile tests this month alone. On Friday and Saturday, Kim Jong-un watched military drills on the west coast including the test-firing of two short-range missiles into the East Sea.

    A short-range ballistic missile blasts off in Sunchon, South Pyongan Province on Saturday, in this grab from the [North] Korean Central Television. /Yonhap

    In pictures published in the state media, the mobile launch vehicles and projectiles look similar to a North Korean version of ATACMS tactical surface-to-surface missiles that was test-fired twice last August.

    "We've found out that the North's ATACMS missiles are capable of a pull-up maneuver," a military source here said.

    He added the missiles could launch precision strikes against the U.S. Forces Korea's military bases in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province and Cheongju in North Chungcheong Province, where F-35 stealth fighter jets are deployed, dodging the radar of the combined South Korea-U.S. forces.

    Cheong Wa Dae did not comment on the latest missile launch, but the ruling Minjoo Party said in a statement, "North Korea should immediately stop military actions that run counter to the peace on the Korean Peninsula and instead join hands in fighting COVID-19."

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