Coronavirus News Asia

North Korea swallows its pride and asks for help

North Korea, always proud of its founding ruler’s policy of Juche, or self-reliance, has swallowed its pride and asked for help to handle the coronavirus, according to reports. The move was predictable.

Foreign aid is baked into its national DNA.

“Pyongyang has secretly asked for international help to increase coronavirus testing in North Korea as the pandemic threatens to cripple its fragile healthcare system,” London’s Financial Times reported in a story reported from Washington and Seoul.

“In private communications, officials have quietly sought urgent help from their international contacts over the past few weeks, according to several people familiar with the matter and a document seen by the Financial Times,” the FT said.

This was really only a matter of time. Regardless of all the proud talk of Juche, the country was founded with massive aid from the Soviet Union. It industrialized and thrived, by developing-world standards, for three decades in large part thanks to the generosity of the USSR and other Communist-bloc countries.

Then, after the virtual demise of communism, it survived with the reduced help of Beijing, Moscow, the United Nations, various Western NGOs – and even, on occasion, deadly enemies South Korea and the United States.

Only the other day Donald Trump sent a letter to his pal Kim Jong Un offering to help him deal with the virus.

Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong offered thanks but said that a good personal relationship between the leaders was not enough. North Korea wanted the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to have a good relationship, which would require Trump putting some action behind his sweet words.

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