President Moon Jae-in recently received a letter from Bono, the leader of the Irish rock band U2 and a humanitarian activist who was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The letter contained a request for the Republic of Korea’s assistance to the Republic of Ireland to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
In his letter, Bono expressed his deep gratitude for President Moon and Korea’s leading role in the response to the COVID-19 crisis. He said the entire world appreciates the leadership being demonstrated by Korea in saving lives at this critical juncture. He also said that everyone is also impressed by and watching the country’s efforts.
He then asked for assistance to Ireland regarding medical equipment and supplies. He unveiled his intention to purchase – with his own funds – personal protective equipment, other medical equipment and diagnostic kits that have been produced or stocked in Korea and donate them to Ireland.
An Irish media outlet recently reported that U2 had donated 10 million euros to support medical professionals battling COVID-19 in Ireland.
Bono said that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is now increasing rampantly in Ireland. He went on to say that he would like to make a polite request that Korea share its insights, knowledge and – more than anything else – available equipment. Bono added that he would cherish President Moon’s invaluable advice on the best practices, considering Korea’s experience and leadership in this crisis situation.
He then concluded his letter by saying that he is now an even bigger fan of President Moon.
In the postscript, Bono wrote that President Moon is the only leader among all the heads of state he has met over the past 20 years to start a conversation with a reference to song lyrics rather than pending tasks. He added that he will never forget this.
President Moon met Bono at Cheong Wa Dae on December 9 last year. At that time, U2 performed in Korea for the first time in front of over 45,000 fans who filled the Gocheok Sky Dome. U2 has attracted a total audience of 13.2 million in 110 concerts and won 22 Grammy Awards to date. Notably, when singing their finale “One” during the concert in Korea, U2 also wished for peace on the Korean Peninsula, sending a message of peace to North Korea.
During the meeting last year, President Moon said, “I heard you opened with ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and closed with ‘One.’ Musically, both are excellent and also carry messages that Koreans can easily relate to.”
In his reply to Bono’s letter, President Moon explained that because he and his wife are enthusiastic U2 fans, they enjoyed their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae last December very much. He added that they were especially impressed deeply by the warm heart behind Bono’s efforts to eradicate disease and poverty around the world. Just as Bono mentioned, the President explained, the Korean Government is actively responding to the COVID-19 outbreak on the basis of advanced quarantine capabilities and high civic consciousness.
President Moon went on to say that Korea is actively sharing with the international community the quarantine and treatment experiences and clinical data that have been accumulated during its response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is also contributing to the global efforts to support countries with less-developed healthcare in Africa. As a word of encouragement, the President continued that he believes that Ireland will also be able to wisely surmount this COVID-19 crisis by building upon the potential of the Irish people who have overcome numerous crises and challenges.
Regarding the request to purchase medical equipment, the President wrote that he will take steps to ensure that consultations can be made with the relevant authorities. He added that he is looking forward to Bono continuing to play a significant role as a messenger of peace for the entire world.
President Moon sent his reply to Bono on April 10.