SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- The leaders of South Korea and Uzbekistan held phone talks on Tuesday on a broad range of issues, including COVID-19, bilateral ties and peace on the Korean Peninsula, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed his gratitude to President Moon Jae-in for South Korea's help in his country's antivirus fight, including the dispatch of medical experts and provision of related materials, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.
Mirziyoyev was quoted as saying that his nation is learning a lot from the Moon government's "very effective" coronavirus crisis response program using every available resource.
He also pledged support for Moon's appeal to the international community for ensuring equal access to coronavirus vaccines and medicine.
Moon requested the Uzbekistan leader's backing for the Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute to play a stronger role in the development and distribution of vaccines.
The leaders agreed on the need to promptly launch negotiations to forge a free trade agreement between the two sides. They also talked about the Korea peace process, Kang said.
Mirziyoyev expressed hope that Moon's wish for inter-Korean peace will be achieved, and Moon reaffirmed Seoul's commitment to continued efforts for the complete denuclearization of Korea and permanent peace.
The Uzbek president requested the phone call as he has postponed a plan to visit South Korea due to the virus concern.
He suggested holding a virtual summit first. Moon called it a good idea and agreed to hold relevant consultations through diplomatic channels.
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