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Top diplomats of S. Korea, China, Japan hold video conference on anti-virus efforts

Diplomacy 10:47 March 20, 2020

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea, China and Japan held a video conference Friday to discuss joint efforts to tackle the new coronavirus outbreak, the foreign ministry said.

The call between Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Wang Yi and Toshimitsu Motegi came as the countries have been seeking to step up communication to share views about their containment efforts and practices on COVID-19.

Earlier this week, the foreign ministries of the three countries had a working-level conference call to discuss ways to set up the ministerial conference.

Details of Friday's conference were not immediately available.

But Kang was expected to renew Seoul's call for the countries to ease or lift entry restrictions for at least businesspeople or others with essential reasons to travel to each other's territories.

As of Friday, 171 countries and territories were enforcing travel curbs on people from South Korea over the virus fears, causing disruptions for many Korean companies involved in businesses overseas.

Japan has slapped an entry ban on people coming in from South Korea's two southeastern regions where major outbreaks of the virus have occurred and suspended a no-visa entry program for Korea. More than 20 Chinese provinces and cities were requiring travelers from South Korea to go into a two-week isolation period.

Seoul has also halted the visa-free entry program for Japanese visitors in a tit-for-tat response following Tokyo's measures, but it has mainly retained a tougher screening system for incoming travelers, called "special entry procedures".

On Friday, South Korea's infection tally stood at 8,652, with 94 deaths.

A file photo of Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha from March 6, 2020 (Yonhap)

A file photo of Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha from March 6, 2020 (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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