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US aware of NK leader Kim's remarks on 'grave incident' in anti-pandemic steps: State Dept.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks at a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers` Party, in this photo disclosed by the Korea Central News Agency on June 16. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks at a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers` Party, in this photo disclosed by the Korea Central News Agency on June 16. (KCNA-Yonhap)
WASHINGTON -- The United States is aware of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's remarks about a serious incident with regard to the North's fight against the new coronavirus, a State Department spokesperson said Wednesday.

Jalina Porter, principal deputy spokesperson for the department, however, offered no immediate US plans to provide humanitarian assistance, including COVID-19 vaccine, to the impoverished North.

"We are certainly aware of the report -- what Kim Jong-un has said -- but we don't have any comments from here," she said in a telephonic press briefing.

Kim said on Wednesday (Seoul time) that officials in charge have caused a "grave incident that poses a huge crisis to the safety of the nation and its people" by neglecting important decisions made by the ruling Workers' Party in its antivirus fight.

The details or nature of the incident were not immediately known.

Porter offered no direct response when asked if the US has any plans to help Pyongyang.

"Just to reiterate, the Biden ministration has taken a strong leadership position on being the leader with vaccine diplomacy, and we will continue to do so from here on out," she said.

The US has pledged to provide up to 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to countries in need by the end of next year, in addition to the 80 million doses it plans to send overseas by the end of this month.

While a large portion of the US doses are set to be distributed among countries through a global vaccine project, known as the COVAX, North Korea reportedly is not on the list that will get direct support from the United States, at least for the initial 80 million doses. (Yonhap)
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