President Moon Jae-in on May 18 delivered a keynote speech at the annual World Health Assembly via videoconferencing. The photo shows the event's venue on the same day in Geneva. (Yonhap News)
By Xu Aiying and Yoon Sojung
President Moon Jae-in on May 18 stressed "solidarity and cooperation for all humankind" over individual interests to cope with the pandemic at the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) via videoconferencing.
In his speech themed "Freedom for All," he mentioned preventive measures voluntarily undertaken by the Korean people to fight the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), such as wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. "The Korean people displayed the highest form of civic virtues to practice the spirit of 'freedom for all' and voluntarily participated in preventive measures," he said.
"This was what really enabled the three main principles of openness, transparency and democracy to flourish."
"Sharing information and cooperating with one another demonstrate a power that no virus will ever have — a power that only humans possess," he added. "If the international community firmly commits to the greater cause of freedom for all, we will undoubtedly overcome the current crisis quickly and bolster our hope for the post-COVID-19 era."
To overcome the COVID-19 crisis and better prepare for the post-pandemic era, the chief executive proposed three measures: providing humanitarian aid to and sharing Korea's quarantine experience with countries with vulnerable health care systems; cooperation beyond borders to develop vaccines and treatments; and quickly updating the international health regulations of the World Health Organization and other relevant rules and augment them with legally binding force.
President Moon expressed his firm commitment to the cause, saying, "This year, the Republic of Korea is planning to provide humanitarian assistance worth USD 100 million."
"Our response to the crisis, our immigration policies, and other such experiences and data we have accumulated during this outbreak will be continuously shared with the international community."
On the development of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, he said, "Such vaccines and treatments are public goods that must be distributed equitably to the whole world," adding, "Infection-related data should be shared among countries in a more transparent manner, and an early warning system and a cooperation mechanism must be jointly established."