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White House: U.S. supports N.K. people amid coronavirus pandemic

All News 03:50 April 14, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Yonhap) -- The United States supports the people of North Korea and other countries vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House National Security Council said Monday, underscoring Washington's commitment to providing humanitarian aid.

The NSC statement was posted on its Twitter account together with a link to a press release issued by the Treasury Department last week.

The Treasury said Thursday that it continues to allow U.S. sanctions exemptions for the delivery of humanitarian aid to countries affected by COVID-19, including North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Syria.

"U.S. sanctions DO NOT target legitimate humanitarian aid, such as medicine, medical devices, equipment, and agricultural products," the NSC said. "We support the people of Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and North Korea."

North Korea has insisted it has no cases of the coronavirus.

On Sunday, state media reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a ruling party politburo meeting the previous day to discuss anti-coronavirus measures.

"Our country took strict top-class emergency anti-epidemic measures from the outset and established thorough-going organization, consistency and compulsoriness in the nationwide protective measures. It, therefore, has been maintaining very stable anti-epidemic situation," the Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korea revealed last month that U.S. President Donald Trump offered his country's assistance with the pandemic in a personal letter to Kim.

The note was sent as denuclearization negotiations between the two countries have stalled for more than a year following the collapse of a February 2019 summit between Trump and Kim.

Kim's sister, Yo-jong, said Trump's letter was appreciated but also sounded a warning against hoping that U.S.-North Korea dialogue would resume based only on the leaders' letters.

This file photo shows the White House in Washington. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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