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FM Kang reiterates accountability, transparency as key values for pandemic response

Diplomacy 17:27 June 23, 2020

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha reiterated Tuesday that accountability and transparency are key values for democracies to uphold in their response to crises, such as the new coronavirus pandemic.

In her message for a project on COVID-19 co-organized by BBC Radio and Britain's Chatham House think tank, Kang also noted that Seoul's commitment to these values helped build public trust and encouraged civic participation in social distancing efforts.

"In fact, crisis is a time for democracies to redouble our commitment to accountability. And the best way to do so is to be transparent," the minister said.

"Full disclosure about what the government is doing or not doing in the midst of a crisis may be difficult, but it is all the more critical, for this is the only way to win the public's trust, which is the most important ingredient in effective crisis management," she added.

Kang also expressed worries that crises tend to "turn countries insular and reveal the weakest links in our societies," while stressing the need for collective efforts to ensure the safety of all humanity.

"Inside countries, (COVID-19) has exposed deep-seated inequalities, lacks in state capacity, the pitfalls of technology," she said.

"Democracies must face up to these with honesty and humility," she added.

On Tuesday, South Korea reported 46 cases, including 16 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,484.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha takes part in a videoconference with her counterparts from eight countries to discuss efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic at the foreign ministry in Seoul in this photo provided by the ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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