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Pyeongyang still unresponsive to Seoul's offer of COVID-19 relief
Updated: 2022-05-17 17:17:51 KST
A day has passed since South Korea reached out to offer North Korea medical aid but the regime still hasn't indicated whether it'll accept.
Seoul had on Monday attempted to send a fax message signed by Unification Minister Kwon Young-se to the head of the North's United Front Department, Kim Yong-chol.
It's seeking to propose working-level talks about providing vaccines, masks and test kits and sharing technical expertise.
Pyeongyang's silence on the matter comes despite the two Koreas holding their routine phone call via the inter-Korean liaison hotline Tuesday morning.
That's according to a South Korean official who said the government has chosen, for now, to wait patiently instead of pressing for a response adding that Pyeongyang is aware of Seoul's willingness to help.
North Korean state media, the Korean Central News Agency, citing data from the regime's quarantine authorities, on Tuesday reported close to 2-hundred-70-thousand more cases of what it's been calling a "fever of an unknown cause."
The figures were gathered between 6 PM Sunday to 6 PM Monday raising the regime's total caseload so far to nearly 1.5 million among which almost 820-thousand have reportedly recovered.
Six more deaths, meanwhile, have pushed the death toll to 56.
In response, the KCNA reported the North Korean military has begun a round-the-clock operation of delivering medicine to every drug store in Pyeongyang.
The regime's leader Kim Jong-un personally ordered their deployment on Sunday during a Politburo meeting where he slammed officials for the lack of medical supplies.
Members of the ruling Worker's Party including Kim himself have been inspecting pharmacies to make sure drug supply is stabilized.

"Under these conditions, resident movement is limited, so we prepare medicines and go out to deliver them to residents as well."

This comes as South Korean media outlets, citing multiple sources, say the North late last month began purchasing medical goods through trade brokers from China.
Meanwhile, three state-owned Air Koryo flights, believed to be carrying healthcare supplies, reportedly returned to Pyeongyang from Shenyang Monday afternoon.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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