North Korea says Trump offered country help amid coronavirus pandemic

North Korea says Trump offered country help amid coronavirus pandemic
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE offered North Korea help in combating the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, Trump administration officials close to the matter confirmed to Reuters. 

A senior Trump administration official confirmed Trump sent a letter to the country's leader, Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnOvernight Defense: Pentagon orders bases to stop reporting coronavirus numbers | Hospital ship arrives in NY | Marines pause sending new recruits to boot camp | Defense bill work delayed North Korea: 'Reckless remarks' by Pompeo show US doesn't want nuclear talks Donald Trump as Winston Churchill? MORE, saying that the move was “consistent with his efforts to engage global leaders during the ongoing pandemic.”

Trump confirmed at a White House briefing on Sunday that he had reached out to Kim, adding that the U.S. had also extended an olive branch to places like Iran about combatting the virus.

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"If they need help, we will give them help," he said. "We are open for helping other countries."

North Korea state media reported that Kim received a letter from Trump, saying the president was impressed by the chairman's efforts to protect the country from the coronavirus. 

North Korea has notoriously tested missiles pointed toward the United States, including tests that have taken place as early as this week. Reuters reported that these tests are an effort by the North Korean leadership to coax the White House into lifting sanctions on the country.  

In the past, Trump has come under intense criticism for his relationship with Kim. The two have had several meetings, the latest took place in North Korea, when Trump briefly stepped over the line in demilitarized zone that separates South Korea from its northern adversary. 

However, despite the seemingly good exchanges between the two leaders, North Korea has still not given up its nuclear weapon production programs, according to the report.

The letter reportedly said that “if impartiality and balance are not provided and unilateral and greedy intention is not taken away, the bilateral relations will continue to aggravate.”

Updated March 22 at 7:43 p.m.