SCIO briefing on international cooperation in response to COVID-19

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on March 5 in Beijing to brief the media about international cooperation in response to COVID-19. March 6, 2020

The Kyunghyang Shinmun:

We have noticed that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha spoke on the phone on Feb. 27 and stated that the two sides have cooperated in epidemic prevention, medical treatment, and drug andvaccine research and development. What progress has been made in this regard?

Thank you.

Ma Zhaoxu:

We will never forget the precious assistance and support provided both in official and unofficial ways by South Korea while China has been engaged in the fight against COVID-19. Based on what we have undergone, the epidemic in South Korea greatly concerns us as well. Therefore, we are willing to offer any supplies that are necessary and stand by your side in fight against the epidemic as we take the challenges facing you as our own. The phone call you mentioned between State Councilor Wang Yi and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha exemplified the close contact being kept between the two countries, and we are hoping to cooperate in epidemic prevention and control, medical treatment and medicine development. We will continue to keep in close touch with each other.

The Chinese government will soon provide South Korea with a batch of much-needed medical aid. In fact, some Chinese localities and enterprises have already or are preparing to provide assistance to South Korea, especially to areas with severe outbreaks such as Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do. We are doing all of this, and we will further increase our efforts.

At the same time, we are also discussing with the South Korean side to establish a joint prevention and control mechanism, because epidemic prevention and control must be done by everyone in order to effectively prevent the cross-border spread of the epidemic. We have also proposed to deepen cooperation with South Korea including strengthening existing information exchanges between counterparts in health, quarantine, customs and immigration. We are also expecting to establish a comprehensive platform to exchange views and information regarding anti-epidemic endeavors between the two sides. Meanwhile, guidelines dedicated to the prevention and control of the epidemic for tourists in China have been sent to South Korea as well. We hope through our cooperated effort, the epidemic can be contained more effectively so that the chances for it to spread across our borders will be much minimized. To this end, we will continue to communicate and negotiate with South Korea to enhance our cooperation.

Zeng Yixin:

Mr. Ma just now introduced the across-the-board cooperation between China and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and I want to add something further in regard to health. China and the ROK have enjoyed a long-term, friendly and practical cooperation on health matters; as the two foreign ministers mentioned in their phone conversation the two countries have maintained close communication and cooperation on epidemic prevention and control and medical treatment since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. The heads of the health authorities of the two countries have exchanged messages and maintained close communication on policies. The health authorities and disease control centers of the two countries share epidemic-related information in a timely way, while their experts held technical exchanges during an ASEAN-China-Japan-ROK high-ranking health officials' video meeting on response to the COVID-19 on Feb. 3. The health authorities of China and the ROK also opened an expert hotline and engaged in technical exchanges. China has also shared with the ROK its technical guidelines and plans on epidemic prevention and control through multiple channels. As the epidemic continues in the two countries, their health authorities and technological institutions will further strengthen the cross-border coordination mechanism on epidemic prevention and control, and enhance cooperation through various platforms such as the China-Japan-ROK health ministerial meeting, the mechanism of senior officials' meetings, the Japan-China-Korea Forum on Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, the China-Japan-ROK meeting of directors of centers for disease control and prevention, and the China-ROK hotline of directors of centers for disease control and control. The two countries will work together to promote technological sharing, including sharing experiences in epidemic prevention and control, medical treatment and nursing, and R&D into vaccines and medicines, and safeguard the wellbeing of the two countries, as well as regional and global public health security. Thank you. 

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