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S. Korea seeks close ties with central Europe on trust built up over COVID-19 cooperation

Politics 22:01 May 22, 2020

SEOUL, May 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is seeking to expand cooperation with central European countries based on trust built up through joint efforts in tackling the coronavirus outbreak, the foreign ministry here said Friday.

In a videoconference with chiefs of South Korean missions in the region, Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gunn said that Seoul wants closer relations with Visegrad Group countries -- Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic -- to overcome the COVID-19 scourge and ensure the health crisis does not adversely affect bilateral economic ties, according to the ministry.

During the talks, Kim noted the level of close exchange Seoul has maintained with the countries to help its citizens return to their home country and allow businesspeople to make essential business trips despite strict quarantine measures that have been put in place for most travelers.

This photo taken on May 22, 2020, and provided by the foreign ministry shows Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gunn (R) and other Seoul-based officials holding a videoconference with heads of diplomatic missions to four central European countries -- Poland, Hungary, Solvakia and the Czech Republic -- at the ministry in Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Such cases of cooperation are well representative of win-win cooperation and mutual trust between the two sides," Kim was quoted by the ministry as saying.

Twenty percent of South Korean exports to Europe go to the Visegrad Group of four central European states. Korean companies' investments in the four nations soared to US$1.91 billion in 2019 from $63 million in 2015.

The Seoul government has said it is committed to backing the global fight against the coronavirus by sharing its anti-virus know-how and experience.

The country will maintain its anti-virus strategy based on the principles of "openness, transparency and democracy" and share information related to the pandemic with the international community, the ministry said.
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