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S. Korea shares with U.S. know-how on election-day anti-virus measures

Diplomacy 17:28 May 29, 2020

SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea held a video conference with the United States on Friday to share its know-how in safely administering nationwide elections amid the coronavirus pandemic, the foreign ministry said, as the U.S. prepares to hold a presidential election in November.

The session was arranged after the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), a nonpartisan organization of public officials in the U.S., asked for Seoul to share its experience in holding the parliamentary polls in April.

On April 15, South Korea carried out the elections with the highest voter turnout of 66.2 percent since 1992 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Health authorities have reported no virus cases traced to the elections.

Officials from the foreign ministry, the interior ministry and the National Election Commission joined the session with their U.S. counterparts from the State Department, NASS and National Association of State Election Directors.

Among the participants were Ko Yun-ju, director-general for North American affairs at Seoul's foreign ministry, and Marc Knapper, deputy assistant secretary of state for Korea and Japan at the U.S. State Department.

Knapper said that South Korea's capability to proceed with the elections gave hope for democracies across the world, while noting democratic procedures should not weaken due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to the ministry.

Ko expressed South Korea's desire to actively share its quarantine experience should there be any request from the U.S., while portraying the videoconference as another example of close cooperation between Seoul and Washington.

During the session, officials from Korea's election watchdog gave a briefing on a series of election-day anti-virus measures, such as disinfection of polling stations, fever checks and social distancing protocols, as well as quarantine procedures during the early voting period and the process of counting votes.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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