President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, at her request, for about 20 minutes from 3:30 p.m. today.
President Kaljulaid became the youngest and first female president in the history of Estonia in 2016 at the age of 46. She visited Korea in February 2018 on the occasion of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and had a summit with President Moon Jae-in. She also made a visit to the King Sejong Station, the Korean Antarctic research station, on January 23 this year.
President Kaljulaid began by thanking President Moon for accepting her proposal to speak over the phone so she could listen herself to him describe how Korea has been responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
President Kaljulaid went on to say that Estonia is paying keen attention to Korea’s successful process of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. She explained further that Estonia, too, is conducting widespread testing and pursuing a social distancing campaign in emulation of Korea’s experience. She added that she was grateful to the Korean Government as her country is currently carrying out diagnostic tests with Korea-made equipment, expressing Estonia’s desire to continue to procure diagnostic kits as long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
In particular, President Kaljulaid said that it is very interesting that Korea’s responses are focused on “voluntary participation” rather than “coercion.” She added that her country intends to benchmark Korea’s policies for resuming economic activities as well after overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.
President Moon said, “It is very fortunate that Korea’s experience is helping Estonia respond to COVID-19. I am grateful to you for holding the achievements made by our quarantine model in high regard.”
President Moon continued, “We will actively share our quarantine, treatment and clinical data with Estonia. If the Estonian side informs us of its detailed request for diagnostic kits and other medical supplies through diplomatic channels, we will review them and provide as much assistance as domestic circumstances allow.”
President Moon emphasized that “Now, what matters most for overcoming COVID-19 is the cooperation and solidarity of the international community. In order to develop a vaccine and treatments, global cooperation is needed, and all countries will have to work together to revive the contracted global economy.”
President Moon said, “Korea will play an active role to promote international solidarity in COVID-19 responses. There will also be a lot of room for cooperation on COVID-19 responses with Estonia, a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.”
After joining the United Nations in 1991, Estonia recently gained a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council for the first time with a term from 2020 to 2021.
President Moon said, “Since Korea and Estonia are both focusing on biomedicine and the digital economy, I hope that the two countries will cooperate more dynamically once COVID-19 is brought under control.”
President Moon congratulated Estonia on its becoming a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and said, “I ask for your continued interest in the success of our Government’s peace process on the Korean Peninsula.” President Kaljulaid replied that she will always support efforts to bring peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula.
In addition, the two leaders exchanged their views on pending issues of interest such as expanding bilateral economic cooperation, including in the defense industry, and establishing Estonia’s permanent diplomatic mission in Korea.