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FM Kang calls for concerted int'l action to overcome pandemic at Manama forum

All News 11:22 December 06, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has called for concerted action by the international community in vaccine development, essential cross-border exchanges and other areas, saying such cooperation is vital to overcoming the coronavirus pandemic.

Kang made the remark in her speech at the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain on Saturday (local time), as she pointed out that the global outbreak of COVID-19 has been a reminder to the world that trust in multilateralism and solidarity has eroded.

She was visiting the country for the multilateral security meeting and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a four-day trip that included talks with officials.

"Global governance was at a low point when COVID-19 struck, with trust in multilateralism and the rules-based international order already greatly eroded," she said in the speech released by her office Sunday.

"COVID-19 is a humble reminder of our interconnectedness, as well as our shared vulnerability, and thus the critical importance of global solidarity and international cooperation."

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha delivers a speech on global governance in relation to the global outbreak of COVID-19 in Bahrain on Dec. 5, 2020, in this photo provided her office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

She highly evaluated ongoing international efforts toward securing equitable access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines as a way to strengthen emergency health capabilities, noting that South Korea has been an active participant in global vaccine development efforts through mechanisms like the COVAX Facility.

Stressing the need for efforts to rebuild economies, she introduced the expedited entry agreements Seoul has clinched with other countries, including the UAE, to allow essential cross-border travel and exchanges of people.

"As a result, work has continued in the many infrastructure projects that Korean firms are taking part in this region. These will be instrumental for the post-COVID economies in the region."

Kang also stressed the need to strengthen a global health architecture centered around the World Health Organization (WHO) to be able to tackle future public health challenges.

Among the top diplomats of other countries in attendance were U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, through a virtual link, and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iraq.

During her Middle East trip, Kang held a series of one-on-one talks with her counterparts and discussed bilateral ties and cooperation, including Saudi's Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, as well as Foreign Ministers Fouad Hussain of Iraq and Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani of Bahrain, her ministry said.

Kang will return home Monday.


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