Go to Contents Go to Navigation

U.S. State Department thanks 'linchpin ally' S. Korea for virus test kits

All News 06:39 April 15, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, April 14 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department thanked South Korea on Tuesday for the shipment of Korean-made coronavirus test kits, saying the "linchpin ally" has been a close partner in the fight against COVID-19.

The U.S. government bought 600,000 test kits from two private South Korean companies, with an additional 150,000 kits purchased from a third Korean company through its U.S.-based distributor, a department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency.

"The tests have been airlifted from the ROK, and (arrived/will arrive) in the United States between April 10-15," the spokesperson said, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

"We are grateful to the Republic of Korea for making the purchase of these tests possible, and for its assistance to the people of the United States in our fight against COVID-19," she added.

This file photo shows a test kit for the new coronavirus developed by Seoul-based Kogen Biotech. (Yonhap)

The South Korean firms signed contracts with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to export their test kits after gaining interim approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The shipment followed a phone call between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump last month, during which Trump requested South Korea's assistance with medical equipment.

"During times of crisis, close coordination among like-minded allies and private sector partners is key to developing a swift and effective response," the spokesperson said. "As our linchpin ally in the Indo-Pacific, the Republic of Korea has been on the front lines of this pandemic, and we thank them for their collaboration in combating this disease in an open and transparent manner."

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that the U.S. "deeply appreciate(s)" the shipment of test kits.

A day earlier, a senior U.S. government official told Yonhap that his country is "grateful" to South Korea for its assistance in procuring the test kits and for its support to the American people.

Trump has repeatedly compared testing numbers in the U.S. with those of South Korea, making the false claim that his country tested more people in eight days than South Korea did in eight weeks.

South Korea's vigorous testing regime has been credited with helping the country contain the coronavirus outbreak on its soil.

The U.S. currently has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!