The top diplomats of South Korea and China discussed over the phone ways to cooperate in dealing with the new strain of coronavirus on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi had a 30-minute telephone call late Tuesday to discuss ways to protect Korean nationals in China against the outbreak of coronavirus as well as other issues like planned bilateral summit talks, according to the ministry.
During the talks, Kang asked for the Chinese government's assistance with the South Korean government's impending plan to evacuate South Korans from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, according to the ministry.
South Korea is planning to send four chartered flights to Wuhan from Thursday to Friday to bring home some 700 South Koreans from the city where the new coronavirus originated.
Kang expressed her hope that the spread of the coronavirus could be contained soon through the Chinese government's active engagement, also pledging Korea's provision of relief goods.
The Chinese minister vowed that Beijing will cooperate in the protection of South Koreans in China as well as maintain close communication and cooperation with the Korean government in dealing with the virus.
"The two ministers pledged to speed up collaboration and communications at all levels (for the preparation of summit-level exchanges) while jointly coping with the crisis," the ministry said, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping's planned visit to South Korea in the first half of this year.