President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with King Felipe VI of the Kingdom of Spain, at the request of the Spanish monarch, for 45 minutes from 4:00 p.m. today.
President Moon began by saying that he was pleased to speak again with the King today following their meeting during the state visit to Korea by their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia last October. The President also expressed his gratitude to Spain for its active cooperation in helping Koreans stranded in Equatorial Guinea return home safely in April via a flight chartered by the Spanish Government.
In his reply, King Felipe said that he is well aware of Korea’s efficient work to reduce the number of COVID-19 victims, expressing his profound respect.
The King expressed regret over the postponement of a state visit to Spain by President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Their state visit was originally scheduled this year to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Spanish King requested that President Moon visit Spain as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The President accepted the suggestion, expressing his gratitude.
President Moon then remarked, “I recently emphasized the spirit of ‘freedom for all’ in my address to the World Health Assembly.” The President stressed, “To brace for the post-COVID-19 era, the international community must pull together through mutual trust and inclusiveness on the basis of solidarity and cooperation.”
President Moon added that the Korean Government would redouble its efforts for international solidarity and cooperation, saying it would share its experience in COVID-19 prevention and control and clinical data as well as provide medical and other relevant supplies.
In response, King Felipe praised President Moon’s leadership in promoting international solidarity to eradicate the infectious disease. In expressing support, the King said that President Moon’s initiative is also indispensable for the projects Spain is carrying out to help the vulnerable in North Africa and Latin America. King Felipe once again noted that Korea’s response capabilities have gained worldwide recognition and that President Moon has proven his leadership through unmatched achievements.
King Felipe said that Spain would attempt to return to normalcy in every aspect from July, expressing the hope that the restoration of tourism could help its severely affected economy rebound.
President Moon noted, “I was told that the number of new confirmed cases and related deaths dropped significantly in Spain due to effective responses from the Spanish Government.” The President added, “I hope that Spain will be able to return to the way life used to be prior to the COVID-19 outbreak as soon as possible.”
King Felipe said that President Moon’s remarks provided tremendous encouragement. The King congratulated President Moon on his ruling party’s sweeping victory in April’s general election despite the COVID-19 outbreak.
President Moon replied, “Our people’s voluntary and thorough efforts for infectious disease prevention and control and active participation in voting helped us to hold the election successfully and safely.”
The two leaders shared their regrets that COVID-19 is hampering bilateral exchanges and cooperation as this is the first year of the 2020-2021 Korea-Spain Visit Year and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. Before ending the phone conversation, they agreed that the two countries should work together to overcome the economic crisis and collaborate in the post-COVID-19 era.