President Moon Jae-in spoke for 20 minutes from 8:00 p.m. today on the phone with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who also serves as the kingdom’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister. Their telephone conversation was arranged ahead of the upcoming extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit.
President Moon began by saying, “I have felt an urgent need for collaboration at the G20 level as the entire world is suffering from the COVID-19 outbreak. Swift action taken by Saudi Arabia has made it possible to hold an extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit the day after tomorrow.” He went on to say, “I hold the leadership of the Crown Prince in high regard in your capacity as the Summit Chair.”
President Moon added that “The crisis triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading beyond a simple public health issue to all sectors, including the economy, finance and society at large, making international cooperation more urgent than ever before. For this reason, the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit on March 26 will indeed come at a very opportune time.”
President Moon continued, “In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, restrictions on people-to-people exchanges are inevitable, but we still need to explore ways to minimize their negative impact on the global economy. I hope that there will be in-depth discussions on the measures for global cooperation at the upcoming extraordinary virtual summit, including assurances for business-related travel, provided that no individual country’s quarantine efforts are compromised. I also look forward to the Summit drawing out wise ways to overcome this crisis.”
The Crown Prince expressed his agreement with President Moon’s thoughts and said he was ready to cooperate with the Republic of Korea on any issue. He also expressed his hope that this Summit would produce insightful measures for overcoming the COVID-19 outbreak and economic crisis.
As for agenda items at the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit, Crown Prince Mohammed singled out: how to 1) bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control from a healthcare perspective, 2) minimize the negative impact of the coronavirus on the economy 3) keep the virus’s repercussions on politics to a minimum and 4) facilitate global trade and exchanges.
The Crown Prince pointed out the G20’s experience overcoming the 2008 global financial crisis, stressing that the role of its member countries is significant for surmounting public health crises and leading the recovery of global growth. Then, he expressed the hope for bilateral cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Korea as well to overcome the crisis together.
At the end of the phone call, President Moon said, “I’d like to request your consideration and support to help allow exchanges among those businesspeople who satisfy certain quarantine requirements, for instance, by possessing reports on their present health condition, so that Korean businesses can continue to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s economic development and the realization of its Vision 2030 initiative.”
The Crown Prince replied that he himself and the people of Saudi Arabia have always respected Korea and held it in high regard. He went on to say that since the two countries engage in high-level exchanges in all directions, Saudi Arabia will do what it can to help Korea for its part and will make its own request to Korea should a need ever arise.