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N. Korea stresses cooperation with international Red Cross organizations amid global virus pandemic

North Korea held a Red Cross meeting and stressed the importance of cooperation with international aid organizations amid the global coronavirus pandemic, state media said Thursday.

During the meeting held Tuesday and Wednesday, the North highlighted the need to closely cooperate with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other international organizations to achieve its "strategic goals," according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

"To successfully achieve the Red Cross' goals from 2021 to 2030, all officers and volunteers must work as one," the paper said.

The meeting also called on North Koreans to "stay ready to effectively respond to various disasters" and to "fulfill one's respective duties according to the national crisis control system."

The meeting came as the North is expected to receive vaccines and coronavirus-related assistance from outside.

North Korea was initially expected to receive around 1.7 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 by May through the COVAX Facility program, though it has announced a delay.

Last month, a UN Security Council panel also approved temporary sanctions exemptions for the Singapore Red Cross' project to provide North Korea with test kits and other preventive equipment against the coronavirus.

North Korea has claimed to be coronavirus-free but has taken relatively swift and tough measures against the pandemic, such as imposing strict border controls, since early last year. (Yonhap)