The United States has approved extending humanitarian aid to North Korea because of Coronavirus. This is because the North is under sanctions imposed by the US and it cannot get benefits from other countries unless America approves. America has approved and this move could be a step towards another Trump-Kim meeting. The Red Cross wants exemption from these sanctions in order to help the country tackle the threats. Once sanctions ease, it would allow the Red Cross to transfer money to its office in North Korea. It has described this as “a lifesaving intervention” and explained about an urgency.

There is a need to procure life-saving devices like personal protective gear and testing kits. These would be invaluable for Pyongyang to be prepared to face any possible outbreak. Moreover, America has reasons to extend help to international aid agencies in their fight against the disease. Washington is probably worried that Pyongyang might try to suppress news about an outbreak.

New York Times says North Korea shares a long border with China where the disease originated.

Subsequently, it has spread to the outside world. There have been more than 1300 deaths from coronavirus, mostly in China. There are no reports of any incidents of the disease in North Korea in spite of its proximity to China. However, there has been unconfirmed news from South Korea about the loss of lives in the North that are suspected to have links with the virus.

North Korea plays safe with coronavirus

Right from the beginning, North Korea has taken a number of steps to ensure all-round safety. It has close links with China. However, due to the coronavirus scare, North Korea has put on hold all flights and trains to and from China. Its long border with the neighbor has problems of its own.

There are smugglers, who take advantage of the shallow river frontier to conduct their illegal activities. They could add to the woes of Pyongyang. It has a public health system that is dysfunctional. Travel restrictions imposed due to sanctions make it difficult for the country to obtain essential items from China. The North has already suspended international tourism and shut its ports and borders to foreign goods. It has also extended the quarantine period for people with coronavirus symptoms.

New York Times reports that relief organizations have pointed out about American-led international sanctions against the North.

These are acting as obstacles to provide aid on priority. Under the circumstances, the United States has encouraged aid groups to extend necessary help. In the words of a State Department representative, “The United States is deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the North Korean people to a coronavirus outbreak.”

North Korea to fight coronavirus with America's help

According to the New York Post, North Korea has taken a tough stand on coronavirus. It has executed one of its officials who came back from China and went to a public bath in violation of his quarantine. The authorities took this drastic action to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is firm and has vowed to be strict with those who leave quarantine without permission.

So far, there is no case of death as confirmed by Pyongyang-based officials of the World Health Organization to a section of the media.

Coronavirus could bring North Korea closer to the US

North Korea is aware of the dangers of coronavirus and it has taken precautions. However, it does not have a medical setup to tackle it if the situation deteriorates. There are sanctions imposed on Korea by the United States and, as such, it has to follow restrictions on imports. Therefore, keeping in view the humanitarian needs, America has granted approval to the Red Cross to arrange for necessary supplies. This could help bring Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump to the table once again to discuss denuclearization.

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