President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau from 10:00 a.m. to 10:32 a.m. today to exchange views on bilateral cooperation and international collaboration. Today’s telephone conversation was arranged at Prime Minister Trudeau’s suggestion.
President Moon began by expressing the hope of a full recovery for the Prime Minister’s wife Mrs. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, who tested positive for COVID-19 and is now being treated. The President also wished Prime Minister Trudeau, who has personally taken command to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak while working from home, the earliest possible comeback. The Canadian Prime Minister explained that Mrs. Trudeau has almost fully recovered, expressing his gratitude to President Moon.
Then, Prime Minister Trudeau noted that Korea’s science-based COVID-19 responses – drawn from experience with the MERS outbreak – have been producing positive results in terms of public safety without imposing undue burdens on the healthcare system. He went on to explain that Canada would opt for a model similar to that of Korea.
In particular, Prime Minister Trudeau said he thought that Korea’s practices of extensive, swift testing and contact tracing are very important. The Prime Minister went on to say that his country wants to learn from Korea.
In response, President Moon expounded on the current situation of Korea’s COVID-19 responses and said, “We are willing to actively share with the international community the experience and clinical data accumulated in the course of quarantining and treating our confirmed cases.”
Prime Minister Trudeau replied that if his country could acquire such data from Korea, it could learn many lessons. Then, the Prime Minister expressed the hope that a dialogue between the two countries’ healthcare authorities could be arranged. Prime Minister Trudeau went on to say that although his country had no other choice but to close its border with the United States, he thought that Korea’s decision not to adopt an entry ban on foreign nationals from abroad, including China, was essentially the right choice.
Prime Minister Trudeau explained that Canada had asked Korean companies to provide quarantine supplies. He also said that his country will continue to increase the production of medical equipment so that it can assist other countries in the mid- to long-term.
President Moon said, “Despite its own insufficient quarantine supplies, Korea had at least developed diagnostic kits early on and production can meet domestic demand, so Korea can accept requests from various countries to export those kits or provide some as humanitarian aid. Countries with supplies to spare have to actively help other countries with shortages.”
Before ending their phone conversation, the two leaders agreed to continue to have in-depth discussions on ways to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak and normalize the global economy at the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit to be held later today.