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(LEAD) S. Korea, China, Japan agree to boost cooperation on coronavirus

All News 23:18 May 15, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead, photo; UPDATES paras 1-4; TRIMS)

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- The health ministers of South Korea, China and Japan agreed Friday to cooperate in tackling the coronavirus and developing a vaccine in their first meeting since the disease emerged in China late last year.

The tripartite teleconference involved South Korea's Park Neung-hoo, China's Ma Xiaowei and Japan's Kato Katsunobu, as well as Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific regional director, according to Seoul's health ministry.

The three ministers agreed to exchange clinical and epidemiological information on COVID-19 and share their data on diagnosis and treatment of the virus.

In particular, Park stressed the need for systemic cooperation in infectious disease response as well as vaccine and drug development. He also emphasized expanding exchanges of businessmen to tackle the fallout of the virus pandemic.

In this photo provided by South Korea's health ministry, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo speaks with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts in a teleconference to discuss responses to the novel coronavirus at his office in Sejong on May 15, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The meeting is the first of its kind since the coronavirus outbreak emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

It also comes as the three nations are still struggling with a steady rise in new infections.

South Korea has successfully controlled the virus, but a recent uptick in new infections tied to nightclubs and bars in the capital city of Seoul is raising concerns over a potential second wave of the virus outbreak.

The three-way gathering was launched in 2007 at the request of South Korea to deal with the Influenza A scare that swept through the world.


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