Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden congratulated President Moon Jae-in over the phone on March 22, 2020 stating that he was very impressed by the Korean Government’s strong response against COVID-19, including the massive implementation of testing. Prime Minister Lofven then went on to say that Korea seemed to have entered a stabilizing phase, with the situation now coming under control. Excerpts from the announcement of the President Mansion of Cheong Wa Dae follow:
President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for 20 minutes from 4:00 p.m. today. The telephone conversation was arranged at the request of the Swedish Prime Minister. The two leaders shared concerns over the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been recently spreading across the globe, and discussed ways through which the two countries can work together to overcome the outbreak.
Prime Minister Löfven began by saying that he was very impressed by the Korean Government’s strong response against COVID-19, including the massive implementation of testing. He went on to say that Korea seemed to have entered a stabilizing phase, with the situation now coming under control. He added that he was keeping a close eye on the country as a model for responding successfully to the COVID-19 outbreak.
President Moon replied that the recent spread of COVID-19 in Europe is worrisome, expressing his sympathy and condolences over the increasing number of confirmed cases and deaths in Sweden in March. The President praised Prime Minister Löfven’s excellent leadership, under which social solidarity has been stressed and all-out efforts are being made to combat the disease.
President Moon also emphasized, “Since the COVID-19 outbreak is a global challenge that is not confined to one country, the international community’s cooperation and solidarity is now more important than ever.” He went on to say, “The Korean Government is willing to actively share with the international community the experiences and clinical data that Korea has accumulated in the course of stemming the spread of the virus and treating confirmed cases.”
In reply, Prime Minister Löfven expressed his gratitude for the Republic of Korea’s intentions to share, adding that they will be of significant help to the Swedish Government’s responses to the COVID-19 outbreak.
President Moon highlighted the need for essential exchanges among Korean and Swedish businesspeople to be maintained at a reasonable level, even though people-to-people and economic exchanges, which were being promoted through the two bilateral summits last year, were put on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The President next proposed that the two countries further strengthen bilateral cooperation to contribute to the international community’s efforts to develop vaccines and cures and restore the global economy.
Noting that bilateral relations were raised to a higher level through the two leaders’ mutual visits to each other’s country last year, Prime Minister Löfven replied that the two countries should further improve their cooperative relations by surmounting the COVID-19 outbreak together.
President Moon provided details in response to Prime Minister Löfven’s interest in the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula. The President went on to say that he would strive to ensure that the measures to facilitate inter-Korean dialogue could be implemented while considering various conditions, including the domestic circumstances related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Prime Minister Löfven said that Sweden would remain attentive to the Korean Government’s Peninsula peace process and contribute to the issue.