- Press Releases
Outcome of 12th Teleconference on COVID-19 Response between Vice Foreign Minister Lee and his Counterparts
1. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Taeho participated in a multilateral teleconference on COVID-19 response among the vice foreign ministers of seven countries in the region on the morning of September 11.
° The teleconference among the vice foreign ministers of seven countries -- the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, Japan, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of India, and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam -- has taken place eleven times since the first one held on March 20, and the latest conference marked the 12th one.
2. In the teleconference, the vice foreign ministers exchanged views on facilitating regional cooperation on COVID-19 response, resuming economic activities, facilitating international travel, developing and distributing vaccines and therapeutics, and multilateral cooperation in the region, including through the East Asia Summit (EAS).
3. Vice Minister Lee explained that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the ROK had increased sharply mainly in the Seoul metropolitan area in August, but, due to the ROK government’s prompt upgrading of the social distancing level and continued implementation of its “3T (Test, Trace and Treatment) strategy” as well as the Korean people’s thorough practice of disease prevention and control efforts, the increase is stabilizing.
° The Vice Minister mentioned that, through this experience, it has been reaffirmed that success in disease prevention and control is absolutely necessary for economic recovery. He added that the ROK government is continuing efforts to minimize adverse economic impact of reinforced social distancing, including seeking to provide a second round of emergency disaster relief package, targeting selected groups of people such as the self-employed and small business owners.
° With regard to international travel, the Vice Minister mentioned that the ROK government has been managing cross-border traffic based on risk assessment and the principle of openness by imposing stringent restrictions to in-bound travelers from a limited number of countries instead of imposing blanket entry bans. He added that the ROK government has been continuing efforts to ensure essential travel, including exempting mandatory quarantine for visitors with important business or humanitarian purposes as well as agreeing with multiple countries on the simplification of entry procedures for business persons.
° The Vice Minister also explained that the ROK government has made various efforts for safe return of Koreans who were stranded overseas and not able to return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have helped about 48,000 overseas Koreans return home safely from 119 countries to date.
° The Vice Minister, underscoring the importance of the development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics for global economic recovery, suggested continuing collaboration through multilateral mechanisms, including the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, a global platform for the supply of vaccines, in order to develop vaccines successfully and for all the countries to have adequate and equitable access to vaccines regardless of their income levels.
° The Vice Minister extended congratulations to Vietnam on successfully holding the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on September 9 as the ASEAN chair for this year. He went on to commend the EAS, the premier leaders-led strategic forum, for broadening the scope of discussions to include not only key regional issues, such as the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea, and regional cooperative initiatives, but also regional health security, including COVID-19 response, as well as women, security and peace issues.
Vice Ministers shared the understanding on the importance of cooperation in the
region for overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to continue
collaboration and communication.