President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa for 25 minutes from 5:00 p.m. today. South Africa is the chair of the African Union for this year.
President Ramaphosa began by congratulating President Moon on his remarkable COVID-19 response. He went on to say that the Republic of Korea has paved a new path for responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and that he and everyone else would like to follow suit on that path.
He also extended his congratulations on the victory of President Moon’s ruling party in the recent general election, saying that it was the result of the Korean people’s enormous trust in their President.
In reply, President Moon expressed his gratitude for President Ramaphosa’s congratulations and said, “Thanks to our people having thoroughly followed social distancing and quarantine guidelines, we could not only produce fruitful results in our quarantine efforts but also hold the general election successfully.”
President Moon expressed his sympathy and condolences with regard to the considerable numbers of confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19 spreading in South Africa and all parts of the African continent. He went on to express his belief that South Africa, too, would be able to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak as soon as possible with its Government and people coming together under the leadership of President Ramaphosa.
President Moon added, “The Republic of Korea actively shares its accumulated quarantine and clinical data with the international community. The country has recently held a web seminar on infectious disease control for healthcare officials from all over the world to transfer our experience and know-how. I hope that the current discussions for cooperation on Korea’s way of tracing infection routes will be successfully concluded and be of help to South Africa’s quarantine efforts.”
President Ramaphosa expressed his gratitude and requested President Moon’s support in resolving the shortage of medical supplies facing Africa, including South Africa.
In reply, President Moon said, “Recently, a number of countries have been looking to Korea for assistance and shipments of diagnostic kits and quarantine supplies. As a result, our country does not have enough supplies to spare for every item, but we are trying to help as much as circumstances allow. We will give positive consideration to ways to substantively help South Africa and other African countries.”
President Moon said, “In particular, South Africa is one of the countries that participated in the Korean War and forged ties with us through its blood. As part of the efforts to provide support in return for that sacrifice, the Korean Government is considering ways to provide face masks to countries that participated in the War.”
President Ramaphosa expressed his heartfelt gratitude by saying that Korea is a true friend to the Republic of South Africa and that he would never forget that.
President Moon said he is very grateful to South Africa for its cooperation in the safe return of Korean citizens and asked President Ramaphosa to continue to show consideration and support for the safety of Korean nationals living in his country.
President Ramaphosa said that it was gratifying to be able to help Korean citizens return home safely. The President also promised to do everything he could to ensure the safety of Korean expatriates residing in South Africa.
Moreover, President Moon expressed the hope that a visa extension for Korean businesspeople residing in South Africa would proceed without disruption once its lockdown has been lifted. He also stated a desire for exchanges of businesspeople and other essential personnel to be allowed to an extent that does not undermine quarantine measures in each country. To this, President Ramaphosa also responded positively.
President Ramaphosa conveyed his agreement by saying that the economy should not come to a halt and that supporting exchanges among businesspeople is very important for keeping the economy moving.
The two leaders agreed that it is necessary to assist the World Health Organization so that it can fulfill its role.