North Korea commends Trump, but warns of ties
Published: Mar 22, 2020 10:53 PM

The photo taken on Monday and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting the firepower strike drill ground of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army at an undisclosed location. Photo: AFP

US President Donald Trump sent a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offering cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a Chinese expert noted it's obvious that Trump wants to highlight his ties with Kim to distract domestic pressure and criticism of him on unsuccessfully handling the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Trump has sent a letter to Kim to develop ties, North Korean state media reported citing Kim's sister, who warned their good personal relationship is not enough, as a hiatus in disarmament talks drags on, the Associated Press reported.

The statement by Kim Yo-jong, Kim's sister and First Vice Department Director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, carried by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday, came a day after the nuclear-armed North fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles.

"In the letter, he [Trump]... explained his plan to propel relations between the two countries of the DPRK and the US and expressed his intent to render cooperation in anti-epidemic work," Kim Yo-jong said in the statement.

Lü Chao, research fellow with the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday that the US has never offered any concrete assistance to other countries who are facing serious situations, neither to its European allies, Japan nor China, since the outbreak began. 

"What Trump wants is simple. It is to use North Korea to distract the pressure he is facing domestically, and seek a  chance to break the deadlock with Pyongyang," Lü said.

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