South Korea's Moon proposes regional initiative to battle COVID-19, engage North Korea

By Josh Smith and Hyonhee Shin SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's President Moon Jae-in called on Tuesday for a regional infectious disease control and public health initiative involving China, Japan, Mongolia, and North Korea to tackle health crises and lay the foundation for peace with Pyongyang. In a video message to the United Nations General Assembly, Moon said collective protection of life and safety would lay the groundwork for North Korea to have its security guaranteed by engaging with the international community. 'In the face of the COVID-19 crisis that poses a greater threat to humanity than a war, we came to be acutely reminded that the safety of neighbouring countries is directly linked to that of our own,' Moon said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks distributed by his office.

Reuters September 23, 2020 01:10:49 IST
South Korea's Moon proposes regional initiative to battle COVID-19, engage North Korea

South Koreas Moon proposes regional initiative to battle COVID19 engage North Korea

By Josh Smith and Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's President Moon Jae-in called on Tuesday for a regional infectious disease control and public health initiative involving China, Japan, Mongolia, and North Korea to tackle health crises and lay the foundation for peace with Pyongyang.

In a video message to the United Nations General Assembly, Moon said collective protection of life and safety would lay the groundwork for North Korea to have its security guaranteed by engaging with the international community.

"In the face of the COVID-19 crisis that poses a greater threat to humanity than a war, we came to be acutely reminded that the safety of neighbouring countries is directly linked to that of our own," Moon said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks distributed by his office.

Moon proposed launching a "Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health," but did not provide details.

"It is not only Korea’s response to COVID-19 but also the invaluable lessons Korea will be gaining from institutionalizing peace that Korea wishes to share with the rest of the world," he said.

South Korea's aggressive testing and tracing efforts during the coronavirus outbreak have been praised internationally. North Korea has said it has no confirmed cases, though some U.S. officials have cast doubt on that claim.

As part of his election pledges, Moon proposed building a regional cooperative mechanism in Northeast Asia to defuse military tensions and foster joint responses in areas of common interest, including disease prevention, disaster response and cybersecurity.

Moon this year also expressed his willingness to provide help to North Korea to fight the coronavirus outbreak, calling health issues a top priority in inter-Korean cooperation, but Pyongyang has said it would not receive outside aid and shut the border tighter.

North Korea has rejected cooperation with South Korea and ridiculed previous proposals after denuclearisation talks with the United States stalled, scuttling lofty goals for inter-Korean projects made at a series of summit between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

(Reporting by Josh Smith and Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.