SEOUL, South Korea (UPI) — South Korea says it positively evaluates U.S. President Donald Trump‘s decision to send a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, offering U.S. assistance on the novel coronavirus.
Seoul’s unification ministry spokeswoman Cho Hye-sil suggested Monday at a regular press briefing Trump’s letter to Kim contributes to peace in the Koreas, Yonhap reported.
Over the weekend, North Korea fired two short-range projectiles into the sea, according to the South’s military.
“The exchange of letters between the United States and North Korea is not all bad,” Cho said.
“From the [South Korean] government’s standpoint, we will make consistent efforts to develop inter-Korea relations, denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and establish a lasting peace.”
South Korea’s foreign ministry also welcomed news of Trump’s letter to Kim, according to Newsis.
A foreign ministry official told the news service the government gives Trump’s diplomacy “high marks” amid a “difficult situation.” That positive message was relayed to U.S. counterparts, the foreign ministry source said.
On Sunday Trump confirmed he did send a letter to Kim. The United States also offered assistance to Iran and other countries.
“On North Korea, Iran, and others, we are open to helping other countries. It is a very serious time. North Korea’s going through something, Iran is going through something very, very strong,” the president said.
“Iran is really going through a difficult period with respect to this as you know. I have put the — it’s really a glad hand, to North Korea, to Iran, and to many other countries.”
News of Trump’s letter to Kim began over the weekend when Kim Yo Jong, the first vice-chair of the Korean Workers’ Party, and younger sister of the North Korean leader, had said Pyongyang had received Trump’s letter. Kim Yo Jong said Trump described his relationship with Kim Jong Un as “excellent” or “superb.”
North Korea has claimed zero cases of COVID-19 in the country. Iran, by contrast, has reported more than 23,000 cases and over 1,800 deaths.
South Korea is looking into providing humanitarian aid to Iran, according to Newsis on Monday.
Reporting by Elizabeth Shim