by Christine Ahn, Kevin Martin
As the coronavirus has now claimed 23,820 lives worldwide, there are growing concerns about the situation in North Korea. Although North Korea has not officially reported any cases of COVID-19, global health experts believe it has already spread there as the government is requesting test kits, masks and other emergency aid. An outbreak of COVID-19 in North Korea would be disastrous given the country’s isolation, socioeconomic conditions, and severely weakened health care system—conditions that are directly related to US foreign policy.
The urgency of the situation calls for drastic changes to business as usual. We can turn the COVID-19 crisis into a critical opportunity for international cooperation on the Korean Peninsula by reallocating resources toward protecting human health and reviving the stalled diplomacy between the US and North Korea.