"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Address by H.E. President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea at the G20 Leaders Side-Event: 'Pandemic Preparedness and Response'

[Date] November 21, 2020
[Notes] Unofficial Translation
[Full text]

Honorable Chair,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished representatives of international organizations,

I find it very meaningful that today's event has been organized for us to share each one of our response to COVID-19. I'd like to express my gratitude to the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for granting me the time to introduce Korea's experience in responding to COVID-19. I take my hat off to Your Excellencies and representatives of international organizations who are withstanding this difficult time c

At the outset of the outbreak of the pandemic, Korea had the 2nd highest COVID-19 infections in the world. However, we could overcome the crisis thanks to our people who readily cooperated with infectious disease control measures.

Korean people voluntarily put on face masks and willingly practiced social distancing. They conceived the idea of 'drive-thru' and 'walk-thru' screening stations, which enabled massive testing in a short period of time. From a 'Corona Map' that spots the location of infection and a 'Mask Map' that indicates where you can purchase masks to self-quarantine and epidemiological investigation apps, various mobile applications developed by engineers contributed to the efficient containment of the virus.

With a strong belief that no one is safe until everyone is safe, Koreans supported and encouraged the heavily-hit regions and people as well as the medical staff and frontline workers.

My government, based on the three main principles of openness, transparency, and democracy, kept our people informed of every status update on a daily basis. We detected confirmed cases through rapid diagnostic tests and curbed the spread through epidemiological investigation. We kept restrictions on the cross-border movements of people and goods to a minimum by introducing 'Special Entry Procedures' and strengthened preemptive control measures for the more vulnerable including those at the elderly care facilities.

Moreover, to protect both safety and economy against the virus, we injected emergency fund to support small businesses and vulnerable social groups struck by COVID-19, and shared infectious disease prevention equipments such as diagnostic kits and face masks as well as clinical experience and data with many other countries.

It was these endeavors that empowered us to overcome the resurgence of infections back in August. I find it very fortunate that Korea is now being touted as a model for tackling COVID-19. I hope that Korea's experience can serve as a guidance for your countries. Korea will work in partnership with the international community to put a complete end to the COVID-19 pandemic till the end. We will marshal the forces to develop and distribute vaccines and treatments that everyone is longing for.

Korea is actively participating in WHO's efforts to guarantee equitable access to vaccines and joined the COVAX Facility mechanism as well. We will beef up cooperation with the International Vaccine Institute headquartered in Seoul and others, and scale up humanitarian assistance.

A quick global economic recovery is another urgent challenge. I hope that essential cross-border movements of goods and people will further be revitalized so that we make the best of both infectious disease control and economic recovery.

In particular, I hope that we can further expand 'Fast Track', allowing all countries to more actively interact with one another even in the midst of the coronavirus.

We must work together more closely in solidarity to defeat the coronavirus. I hope that the efforts of G20 will inspire hope to the world.

Thank you.