President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö, at the request of the Finnish President, for 30 minutes from 3:30 p.m. today.
President Niinistö congratulated President Moon on Korea becoming a global example for COVID-19 responses. He also expressed his gratitude to Korea for providing immense help to the world through its COVID-19 response model. The Finnish President went on to explain that he had proposed today’s telephone conversation in order to hear from President Moon about how Korea has successfully responded.
President Niinistö said that he knows how well the Korean economy is performing despite the COVID-19 outbreak, adding that he wanted to listen to President Moon’s assessment of the current economic situation.
President Moon expressed his gratitude for President Niinistö’s high praise and added, “If there’s one point that has led to success in Korea’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it would be enlisting citizens’ voluntary participation while testing many people rapidly, quarantining confirmed cases and disclosing relevant information transparently.”
Regarding the economic situation, President Moon said, “Korea, too, is suffering as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Overcoming the economic crisis is now a tremendous task that is as important as the quarantine efforts.”
President Moon added, “Surmounting the economic crisis necessitates international cooperation. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, individual countries are closing their borders and blocking the exchange of goods and people, plunging the world economy into a more difficult situation. It would be desirable to allow exchanges of essential businesspeople and personnel to the extent that quarantine efforts are not impeded.”
President Niinistö said Finland established COVID-19 response strategies similar to those of Korea. He added that as a result of its responses to COVID-19, Korea is now regarded as occupying a very advantageous position in other areas as well when it comes to sharing its unique strategies with countries around the world. He went on to say that he would prepare for new and more expanded post-COVID-19 cooperation with Korea.
President Niinistö also said that Korea is one of the major solution-providing countries for the COVID-19 outbreak. He noted that Korea has become a key player while sharing its COVID-19-related strategies with the world and that its voice has grown in the international community as a result.
President Moon expressed his gratitude for President Niinistö’s favorable assessment by saying, “This will provide huge comfort and encouragement for our people who are suffering. Moreover, President Moon pointed to Finland having its COVID-19 specimens tested by Korean clinical research institutions as an exemplary case of bilateral cooperation on quarantine efforts. The President spoke highly of Finland’s proactive contribution to cooperation in international healthcare, noting how Finland – the vice-chair of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization – had expanded its voluntary financial contributions to the Organization and recently decided to become a signatory to the agreement that established the International Vaccine Institute based in Seoul.
The two leaders expressed agreement that efforts to revive the contracting global economy are as vital as the need for international cooperation on developing a COVID-19 vaccine and treatments. They also concurred that people-to-people and economic exchanges, including the resumption of direct flights between the two countries, should be normalized as soon as the COVID-19 outbreak is brought under control.
Moreover, the two leaders took note of the success of President Moon’s state visit to Finland in June 2019 and agreed to make concerted efforts to ensure that the agreements made between them will be faithfully implemented.