Asia Today: North Korea’s Kim praises Xi for outbreak gains

BANGKOK – North Korea says leader Kim Jong Un sent a personal message to Chinese President Xi Jinping praising what he described as ChinaThe success of controlling the coronavirus epidemic.

The North Korean state media report followed an assessment by the South Korean spy agency that the pandemic is affecting the North economy, already hampered by decades of flaws in US-led international policies and sanctions on its weapons program. nuclear.


China is North Korea's most significant economic and ally lifeline, responsible for about 90% of the country's foreign trade. With ChinaAs COVID-19 is shrinking, some experts say the North could reach China reinvigorate cross-border trade which has been significantly reduced in recent months.

The Central News Agency of Korea says that Kim in the message to Xi "congratulated him, very much appreciating that he was seizing the chance of victory in the war against the unprecedented epidemic". You did not specify when the message was sent.

South Korea's spy agency recently told lawmakers in a closed-door briefing that the volume of trade between North Korea and China in the first quarter it fell 55% in relation to the previous year. In March, the volume of bilateral trade fell by 91%, parliamentarians said.


The North took intense measures to prevent an outbreak by closing its borders in January and quarantining thousands of people. He further says he has had no cases of infection, although many foreigners doubt it.

A South Korean lawmaker who discussed the spy agency's findings earlier this week said the National Intelligence Service cannot rule out an outbreak in the north. But the agency concluded skyrocketing food prices and panic purchases in Pyongyang and a reduction in Kim Jong. UnThis year's public appearances were evidence of the impact, the legislator said.


In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

– SOUTH KOREAN CASE SPEAKS: South Korea recorded 12 new cases of the new coronavirus, its first increase over 10 in five days. Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased the national total to 10,822 cases and 256 deaths. Three of the new cases were detected in the hardest-hit city of Daegu, and three were passengers screened at airports. As the number of cases decreases, South Korea relaxes social detachment guidelines, allowing the sport to resume and preparing to reopen schools. South Korea's professional football league will begin its new season on Friday after Tuesday's baseball games. Still, health officials warning of new infections asked people to reconsider their elderly parents' visit on Friday, which is National Father's Day, and on the weekend.

CHINA INCREASE CASES: China announced a new case of virus, a local infection in Jilin province and 16 new cases of people who have no symptoms. Only 260 people remain hospitalized and 890 are isolated as suspected cases or because they tested positive, but without symptoms. China reported 4,633 deaths among 82,886 cases. Besides that, ChinaSoccer teams will temporarily reduce players' pay to help teams manage losses. The head of ChinaChina's football association Chen Xuyuan also told state broadcaster CCTV that matches will resume on a staggered schedule, but give no dates.


UN SEARCH HELP FOR VULNERABLES: O United Nations is calling on governments, businesses and billionaires to contribute a $ 6.7 billion appeal to fight the coronavirus pandemic in vulnerable countries. UN. Humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warns that a failure to help can lead to a "hunger pandemic", hunger, turmoil and more conflict. Lowcock said there was already evidence of falling incomes and missing jobs, rising food and price supplies, and children lacking vaccines and meals – and the pandemic peak is not expected to hit the world's poorest countries by three to six months.


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