The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) not only imposes a crisis on the medical field but on all sectors including economy, finance and society. International cooperation is thus more imperative than ever before."
President Moon Jae-in said this on March 24 in phone talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also his nation's deputy prime minister and defense chief, and emphasized the need for international cooperation to handle the outbreak.
President Moon commended Saudi Arabia's swift response as making possible G-20 cooperation in the outbreak and a G-20 online summit on COVID-19 on March 26.
"Limiting interpersonal interaction is unavoidable to stem COVID-19, but we need to devise a way to minimize the negative impact on the world economy," he said.
The Saudi crown prince said the agenda of the online summit included "regulation of COVID-19 in the health field," minimizing the negative economic impact of COVID-19," "minimizing the negative political effects of COVID-19," and "facilitation of world trade and exchanges."
"I hope for bilateral cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Korea to jointly overcome this crisis," he added.
Earlier in the day, President Moon and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez discussed over the phone bilateral cooperation to tackle COVID-19.
Stressing that now is the time for international cooperation and solidarity on the issue, the president said, "The Korean government will actively share with the international community its experience and clinical data accumulated in its process of stemming and treating COVID-19 cases."
Prime Minister Sanchez said Spain will learn through the online summit Korea's innovative response to COVID-19 and crisis management. He also requested Korean medical supplies and a videoconference with Korean experts on infectious diseases.
Korea pledges to US 'maximum aid' of medical devices for outbreak
(March 25, 2020) President Moon Jae-in on March 24 held phone talks with U.S. President Donald Trump on bilateral cooperation to tackle the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
President Trump commended Korea's response to COVID-19 and requested support through the supply of medical devices.
President Moon pledged "maximum assistance" of such devices if Korea had enough available, adding that such support could require approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Trump pledged to take immediate measures so that approval could be made that day.
On the currency swap recently concluded between the two countries, both leaders called the action timely and contributing to the stabilization of the international financial market.
President says Korean test kits helping global COVID-19 efforts
(March 26, 2020) President Moon Jae-in on March 25 paid a visit to the labs of Seegene, one of the producers of Korea's COVID-19 diagnostic reagents and kits.
"This is is the source of our globally recognized preventive measures against the coronavirus. The results of our response can be seen in recent figures, with new cases falling and those who've fully recovered growing in number. This was made possible by the rapid development of diagnostic reagents that gave us a head start," he said.
"A large number of these reagents and kits are already being exported to countries around the world, and helping each of their quarantine efforts. I heard that in Seegene's case, around 95% is sent abroad."
He added, "A short while ago, CNN visited this very facility to find out how Korea developed a test kit in three weeks. Other foreign media have been paying close attention to our diagnostic capabilities and swift authorization of diagnostic reagents. Recently, the export of our testing kits has been discussed at the private and government levels, with requests from numerous countries."
During his visit, the president was briefed on the expedited authorization protocol for diagnostic reagents and kits, and pledged his administration's active support for the producers of such kits used in the global fight against COVID-19.
G-20 leaders sign statement on unity vs. COVID-19
(March 27, 2020) The leaders of the Group of 20 (G-20) major economies have pledged joint efforts to overcome the global COVID-19 pandemic.
President Moon Jae-in and the G-20 leaders on March 26 took part in the G-20 2020 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders' Summit on measures to ride out the crisis, signing a joint statement vowing a united front against COVID-19.
The statement outlined major measures such as protecting lives, jobs and income, restoring trust, maintaining financial stability, restoring the growth rate, minimizing economic and social damage, providing support to countries in need and cooperating in public health.
President Moon in the talks described Korea's preemptive and transparent quarantine efforts under the principles of openness, transparency and democracy. He also suggested ways to strengthen global solidarity and cooperation.
"The G20 member countries must share all of our clinical data and quarantine experiences from combatting the crisis, as well as work together towards developing therapeutics and a vaccine. Furthermore, we must cooperate in providing support to nations with lesser developed healthcare systems,” he said.
“We must use all available means to adopt expansionary macroeconomic policies, strengthen the global financial safety net, and work together for the economic stability of the least-developed and impoverished nations."
"In order to minimize COVID-19’s negative repercussion on the global economy, it is vital that countries maintain the flow of essential economic exchanges."
More budget planned to help vulnerable groups hit by outbreak
President Moon Jae-in on March 30 announced a substantial raise in an emergency financial aid package for vulnerable groups as well as small and medium companies, small business owners and the self-employed affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the third meeting of an emergency economic council at Cheong Wa Dae, he said the government would "defer or exempt payment of the four major social insurance premiums and electricity bills for low-income families as well as SMEs, microbusiness owners and the self-employed that are below a certain size."
The four insurances are those for health, national pension, employment and industrial accident compensation.
The president said he hopes this measure alleviates the living expense burden on low-income groups while allowing small businesses to stay in full operation through maintenance of management and employment.
"In addition, we've significantly increased subsidies to help businesses maintain employment and expanded various livelihood support measures for the vulnerable who’ve fallen through the cracks of the employment safety net," he said.
"Along with enhancing job security, these increases are expected to greatly help protect the livelihoods of those on unpaid leave, the contract-based self-employed, freelancers and day laborers. In addition, they will provide significant assistance to microbusiness owners who've suffered damage from the COVID-19 outbreak, helping them recover their operations or close their businesses and get back on their feet."
"(We have also) made a decision to provide emergency relief payments for those in the bottom 70 percent of the income bracket, including the middle class, which go up to KRW 1 million for a family of four."
"With regard to the emergency relief payments, swift distribution is paramount; our plan is to quickly submit a second supplementary budget bill and have the National Assembly pass it within April, right after the general election."
Asking for full parliamentary cooperation in this matter, President Moon said, "We believe it's necessary to shore up the livelihoods of people in need and provide the public with comfort and encouragement in return for their having joined forces to surmount the crisis as the principal agents in the quarantine efforts, even sacrificing their daily lives."
"These payments will play a significant role in reviving our economy by promoting consumption at the time when the COVID-19 outbreak is brought under control."