From Julian Borger Washington
The US has been appealing to its allies for help in obtaining medical supplies to overcome critical shortages in its fight against coronavirus.
In his public rhetoric Donald Trump has been talking up the domestic private sector response to the crisis. “We should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival,” Trump said at a White House briefing on Tuesday evening. “America will never be a supplicant nation.”
However behind the scenes, the administration has approached European and Asian partners to secure supplies of testing kits and other medical equipment that are in desperately short supply in the US.
On Tuesday, Trump spoke by phone with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, asking if his country could supply medical equipment.
Trump praised the South Korean testing programme, which has helped contain the outbreak there. Moon told Trump that he would support South Korean exports of critical supplies to the US “if there is a domestic surplus”.