President Moon Jae-in on March 24 held phone talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on international cooperation for responding to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Pictured here is President Moon (second from right) on the same day holding a second meeting of the emergency economic council meeting at Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap News)
By Kim Young Deok and Lee Jihae
"The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) not only imposes a crisis on the medical field but on all sectors including economy, finance and society. International cooperation is thus more imperative than ever before."
President Moon Jae-in said this on March 24 in phone talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also his nation's deputy prime minister and defense chief, and emphasized the need for international cooperation to handle the outbreak.
President Moon commended Saudi Arabia's swift response as making possible G-20 cooperation in the outbreak and a G-20 online summit on COVID-19 on March 26.
"Limiting interpersonal interaction is unavoidable to stem COVID-19, but we need to devise a way to minimize the negative impact on the world economy," he said.
The Saudi crown prince said the agenda of the online summit included "regulation of COVID-19 in the health field," minimizing the negative economic impact of COVID-19," "minimizing the negative political effects of COVID-19," and "facilitation of world trade and exchanges."
"I hope for bilateral cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Korea to jointly overcome this crisis," he added.
Earlier in the day, President Moon and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez discussed over the phone bilateral cooperation to tackle COVID-19.
Stressing that now is the time for international cooperation and solidarity on the issue, the president said, "The Korean government will actively share with the international community its experience and clinical data accumulated in its process of stemming and treating COVID-19 cases."
Prime Minister Sanchez said Spain will learn through the online summit Korea's innovative response to COVID-19 and crisis management. He also requested Korean medical supplies and a videoconference with Korean experts on infectious diseases.