President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron for 35 minutes on March 13, 2020. During their telephone conversation, the two presidents shared a common understanding of the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak that has recently been spreading worldwide. They discussed measures for the two countries to work together to overcome this pandemic.
President Macron began by extending his respect to the Korean Government for working to surmount the COVID-19 outbreak through transparent and effective approaches. He went on to express his hope that France can learn from the excellent measures that Korea has been taking successfully and share in its knowhow.
President Macron made two concrete requests. The first was for Korea to share its experiences, so they can be used as a reference in the efforts to bring the crisis situation under control. The second was strengthening cooperation in the fields of public health and hygiene as well as the economy and finance – which requires international coordination, particularly among the G20 nations – to minimize the negative effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In reply, President Moon said, “The Korean Government has accumulated considerable experience and clinical data in the course of stemming the spread of COVID-19 and treating confirmed cases, and we are willing to actively share these with the international community.” The President also stressed international cooperation to develop vaccines and cures as well as joint efforts to revive the global economy. In this context, President Moon proposed that “It would be advantageous to hold a special G-20 teleconference summit,” not to mention the cooperation between Korea and France.
Expressing agreement with President Moon’s proposal for the special summit and calling it a good idea, President Macron suggested that the two countries push to put it into practice. The French President also conveyed France’s solidarity with regard to COVID-19 responses.
Concerning the special entry procedures to be extended to five European countries, including France, from midnight on March 15, President Moon explained to President Macron, “The special procedures are not aimed to limit exchanges with Europe but to prevent the inflow of the novel coronavirus into the Republic of Korea as well as to promote the safety of foreign nationals entering the country, for instance, by checking for fever and requiring that a mobile self-diagnosis app be installed upon arrival.”
President Moon explained the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula after President Macron expressed interest in the issue. President Moon went on to say that he would make efforts to ensure that feasible plans to promote inter-Korean cooperation can materialize. In response, President Macron expressed once more respect for President Moon courageously pushing ahead with the Korean Peninsula peace process, inviting him to request assistance from France at any time should a need arise.
In addition, the two leaders exchanged views concerning issues of mutual interest such as climate change and cooperation on energy and agreed to closely work together going forward.
They also agreed to push for a visit to Korea by President Macron within this year as soon as the COVID-19 outbreak is brought under control.