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Top diplomats of S. Korea, Singapore agree on efforts to resume 'fast-track' entry program

All News 21:41 June 24, 2021

SEOUL, June 24 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and Singapore agreed Thursday to continue close communication on resuming a "fast-track" entry program for essential trips by businesspeople, and expanding people-to-people exchanges, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his Singaporean counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, held talks in Singapore to discuss bilateral ties and regional and global issues. Chung is on a five-day trip to Southeast Asia that also includes visits to Vietnam and Indonesia.

The two sides discussed the need to resume the fast-track program launched in September last year to allow essential trips by entrepreneurs and other people between the two countries. The program was suspended in February amid a rise in virus cases.

The ministers also agreed to continue consultations on ways to expand people-to-people exchanges through such means as a travel bubble program and mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, the ministry said.

In addition, the ministers agreed to closely cooperate in expanding multilateral cooperation in public health and quarantine efforts, while sharing the understanding of the need for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

They also shared the view that complete denuclearization and the establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula is crucial for regional order and stability.

In a separate press release, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the ministers discussed ways to expand cooperation in new and emerging areas, such as fintech and the digital economy, and agreed on the importance of restoring air connectivity between the countries in a "gradual and safe" way.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (L) and his Singaporean counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, pose for a photo before their talks in Singapore on June 24, 2021, in this photo provided by the foreign ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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