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North Korea maintains silence on U.S. presidential election

North Korea has stayed quiet following the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, as President Donald Trump (R) has declined to deliver a concession speech. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/White House
North Korea has stayed quiet following the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, as President Donald Trump (R) has declined to deliver a concession speech. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/White House | License Photo

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- North Korea's silence on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election is drawing the attention of South Korean authorities, as President-elect Joe Biden begins his transition and President Donald Trump refuses to concede his loss.

A South Korean unification ministry official told local reporters Tuesday the government confirms Pyongyang has "not shown any official reaction" to the news of Biden's victory, Newsis reported.

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The ministry also said it is monitoring the reactions of China and Russia, two of North Korea's closest partners. Neither Beijing nor Moscow has congratulated the president-elect since Saturday, when Biden became the projected winner.

North Korea has varied in the timing of its response to past U.S. elections. In 2016, Pyongyang was relatively quick to report on the defeat of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun claimed on Nov. 10 of that year President Barack Obama's strategy of "strategic patience" toward North Korea had "failed," a day after reporting Trump's win, or immediately after the election. North Korea also reported the outcome only after Clinton delivered her concession speech.

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On Tuesday, the unification ministry official said North Korea could be holding back from reporting the U.S. election result possibly because there has been "no concession speech" from Trump.

But the official also said that observation is "not conclusive," and that the ministry is monitoring trends in "neighboring countries, China and Russia."

On Monday, as world leaders sent their messages to Biden, North Korea media skipped any mention of the United States, according to Yonhap. Kim Jong Un has also been absent from the public eye, with his most recent appearance in October, when he paid a silent tribute to Chinese soldiers who fought in the Korean War.

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Pyongyang has cut back significantly on overt military provocations in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea continues to report to the World Health Organization there are no cases of COVID-19 in the country. The regime has tested 12,072 people by Oct. 29 with no positive results, according to Edwin Salvador, the WHO representative to North Korea, Radio Free Asia reported Monday.

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