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Pompeo thanks S. Korea for sending virus test kits

All News 23:05 April 15, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, April 15 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday extended his thanks to South Korea for enabling the purchase of 750,000 Korean-made coronavirus test kits.

"Grateful to the Republic of #Korea for making the @FEMA purchase of hundreds of thousands of #COVID19 tests possible," he wrote on Twitter, linking a similar tweet by U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris.

"Partners and allies stand together. #WeAreInThisTogether," Pompeo added.

This AFP file photo shows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Yonhap)

Three private 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.

Two of the companies sent 600,000 test kits on a flight from South Korea earlier this week, while the third company supplied an additional 150,000 kits through its U.S.-based distributor.

A day earlier a State Department spokesperson said the shipments will arrive in the United States by Wednesday.

"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," the spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency.

"During times of crisis, close coordination among like-minded allies and private sector partners is key to developing a swift and effective response," she added. "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."

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.

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.

hague@yna.co.kr
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