President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, at the request of the Chinese President, from 9:00 p.m. to 9:34 p.m. today.
During their telephone conversation, the two leaders explained their respective national responses to COVID-19 outbreaks, noting that the two countries have been cooperating effectively on epidemic prevention. President Xi congratulated President Moon for Korea having brought the COVID-19 situation under efficient control through his strong leadership. He went on to say that the two countries, as good neighbors, have been setting examples for international cooperation on epidemic prevention.
President Moon replied, “Cooperation on a joint COVID-19 response for epidemic prevention between Korea and China has been well underway since we spoke by phone in February.” The President went on to congratulate China on holding the annual plenary sessions next week of the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, its largest political event.
President Xi cited a proverb: “A good neighbor is not to be traded for gold” and expressed his hope to enhance communication and cooperation between the two countries going forward as bilateral relations has made significant progress over the past three years.
The two leaders also shared their common understanding that the establishment of a new “fast-track procedure” by both state authorities to guarantee their businesspeople’s essential activities is a prime example of cooperation.
With the two countries’ agreement to establish fast-track procedures, a streamlined entry process for businesspeople took effect on May 1. Recently, approximately 200 Korean businesspeople entered China through this system and began working there from May 13.
President Moon said, “I hope that the application of fast-track procedures will be expanded to cover an increasing number of people and regions, thereby setting an example for the world.”
The issue of President Xi’s visit to Korea was also brought up.
President Xi said his firm determination to visit Korea within this year has not changed. In reply, President Moon said, “President Xi’s visit to Korea is more important than anything else in Korea-China relations.” The two leaders agreed to have consultations so that the visit can take place at an appropriate time as soon as conditions improve with the COVID-19 outbreak being brought under control.
The two presidents also discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula. President Xi expressed his consistent support for the Korean Peninsula peace process, and President Moon expressed his gratitude.
This is the second phone conversation between the two leaders during the COVID-19 outbreak following their first call on February 20.
Prior to today’s telephone conversation, President Xi sent President Moon a letter on March 13 to express how highly he values solidarity and the determination to cooperate with Korea to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak as well as Korea-China relations. President Moon sent a reply two days later on March 15 to thank President Xi. The two leaders met each other via video conferencing during the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit on March 26.