President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga for 35 minutes from 5:00 p.m. today at the request of the Swiss President.
President Sommaruga began by congratulating President Moon on the Korean Government’s successful response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which helped to lower the number of confirmed cases. She noted her country had learned much from how Korea has responded to the pandemic.
President Moon replied that when Korea struggled with increases in new infections in late February-early March, Switzerland expeditiously supplied Korea with reagents for automated COVID-19 detection systems. He expressed his gratitude to Switzerland for giving such immense help to Korea in its response at the initial stages of the outbreak.
President Moon then said, “I understand that Your Excellency emphasized the importance of R&D, production and impartial distribution of a vaccine at the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 in early June.” The President expressed his agreement by noting, “Since vaccines and therapeutics are public goods for all humankind – no matter who develops them – all countries should have the right of fair access to them.”
In reply, President Sommaruga said she is delighted to find they are in complete agreement on the equitable distribution of a vaccine and treatments. When it comes to a vaccine and treatments, the Swiss President said that development is also important but stressed that everyone needs the right of access.
President Moon also said, “The International Vaccine Institute headquartered in Seoul is the only global organization with world-class capabilities for vaccine R&D and distribution.” He then asked for active participation from Switzerland. In response, President Sommaruga said that she would review the request and reply soon.
President Sommaruga said that she has been closely watching the recently-heightening tension on the Korean Peninsula and that she holds President Moon’s commitment to inter-Korean dialogue in high regard. She went on to say that Switzerland is willing to assist inter-Korean dialogue and consistently supports the South Korean Government’s Korean Peninsula peace process.
President Moon noted, “The Swiss Government has so far contributed to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as a member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC). It has also continued its efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the vulnerable in North Korea.” The President expressed his gratitude for her support behind the Korean Peninsula peace process, adding, “We intend to continue to communicate and cooperate with Switzerland going forward.”
Meanwhile, President Sommaruga congratulated President Moon for successfully holding the general election by eliciting political participation from many people despite the COVID-19 outbreak. President Moon thanked her for her congratulatory remarks, saying, “We were able to hold the general election safely thanks to the Korean people’s voluntary and thorough infectious disease prevention and control efforts and active participation in the voting.”