Chinese FM calls for concerted efforts with South Korea to minimize COVID-19 impact

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-27 14:18:44|Editor: huaxia

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on the sidelines of the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 15, 2020. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)

The epidemic will have an impact on bilateral exchanges as well as on economic and trade cooperation, but the two sides need to jointly strive to minimize it, Wang said.

BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- China and South Korea should jointly strive to minimize the COVID-19 outbreak's impact on bilateral exchanges as well as economic and trade cooperation, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday night.

In a phone conversation with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Wang suggested that on the basis of effective epidemic prevention and control, the two countries should help their affected industries and enterprises ride out the current difficulties, maintain the stability of their industrial chains and supply chains, and push forward bilateral practical cooperation.

Wang updated Kang on the latest progress in China's fight against the epidemic, saying that China and South Korea, as close neighbors, help each other and share weal and woe.

China thanks South Korea for its continuous strong support for China's fight against the epidemic, which the Chinese side bears in mind, Wang said.

Local residents wait to pay at the counter in a shop in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 24, 2020. As of Thursday morning, the number of infected patients in South Korea totaled 1,595, up 334 from the previous day. The country raised its four-tier virus alert to the highest "red" level on Sunday as the virus infections soared for the past week. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)

Noting that China feels sympathetic about the recent aggravation of the epidemic in South Korea, Wang said that the Chinese side highly commends the rapid and effective prevention and control measures taken by the South Korean side and believes that South Korea will prevail over the outbreak at an early date.

"South Korea's hardships are our own," Wang said, adding that the Chinese side stands ready to provide necessary assistance to the South Korean side and support its government and people in fighting the epidemic.

Wang suggested that the two sides establish and improve communication and exchange mechanisms between their relevant departments, inform each other of their respective policies and measures in a timely manner, and carry out cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, medical treatment, as well as drug and vaccine research and development.

According to the practices of various countries, including China's experience in fighting the COVID-19, controlling and reducing unnecessary cross-border movement of people at an early date is of crucial importance to preventing the spread of an epidemic, Wang said, adding that China is willing to communicate with South Korea on this issue.

He stressed that the two countries share the same goal of more effectively protecting people's lives and health.

A video cheering for China in fighting against novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is played in Gwanghwamun Station in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 18, 2020. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been playing videos cheering for China in fighting against NCP outside the government building and in several subway stations since Feb. 15. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)

Wang voiced belief that after the two sides jointly defeat the epidemic, China-South Korea friendship will be further strengthened and bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields will become more vibrant.

Wang said the epidemic will have an impact on bilateral exchanges as well as on economic and trade cooperation, but the two sides need to jointly strive to minimize it.

For her part, Kang said that since the COVID-19 outbreak, South Korea and China have been supporting and helping each other.

While briefing Wang on measures against the epidemic in South Korea, Kang said the South Korean government has launched the highest level of response and President Moon Jae-in has visited the frontline to inspect and guide the work.

There are reasons for the rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in South Korea in recent days, said Kang.

South Korea is confident of halting the further spread of the epidemic and hopes to continue to strengthen communication and cooperation with China to jointly meet the challenge, she added.

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