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COVID-19 and South Korea's Official Development Assistance Updated: 2020-07-10 11:06:20 KST

Korea has been LAUDED for its PROACTIVE and PROMPT RESPONSE to COVID-19.
What's more it has actively SOUGHT to SHARE its STRATEGY with its partners worldwide HIGHLIGHTING the importance of COOPERATION in the fight against the pandemic.
For more on this I have our Foreign Ministry correspondent Oh Jung-hee in the studio.
Welcome Jung-hee.

Good afternoon.

So Korea HAS expanded its FINANCIAL assistance FOR GLOBAL health and medical projects for the year 2021?

Right, Sun-hee.
Korea has earmarked a bigger budget for its development assistance on health and medical projects in 2021.

The budget has expanded from 232-million U.S. dollars in 2020 to 310-million dollars in 2021.
That's up by over 33-percent.
With this, the government will be cooperating with developing countries to help them build public healthcare infrastructure.
There will also be joint technological studies to develop masks, hand sanitizers, self-testing kits and medicine, suited for the recipient countries.
Seoul will also help in setting up basic hygiene infrastructure, like water and sewage systems.
All this, so that the developing countries can prevent or respond to a pandemic on their own.

The Korean government is also planning to provide more assistance to those whose lives have been directly AFFECTED by the PANDEMIC like refugees?

Yes.
There are some vulnerable groups whose lives or livelihoods are threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak, namely those without proper shelter that suffer from hunger and poverty.

To protect these people, the Seoul government is increasing its relevant budget from 140-million dollars in 2020 to 213-million dollars in 2021.
That's a rise of over 52-percent.
Korea will be sharing with developing countries its economic and welfare policies, and help them establish emergency response systems through which they can deal with large-scale epidemics or disasters.

Now that's for NEXT year. But hasn't the foreign ministry announced plans to provide emergency assistance for several countries THIS year?

Right.
South Korea will spend 30 million dollars as grants this year for 13 countries and regions around the world, to provide what they call "comprehensive emergency assistance."
The recipients are Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, 4 countries in Central and South America including Colombia, 5 ASEAN countries including Vietnam, and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These were chosen based on Korea's foreign policy objectives and bilateral relations as well as the countries' need to upgrade public health systems.

So what will the government be doing? How will the money be spent?

Well, specific programs for each one of these countries and regions will have to be consulted with respective countries so that most appropriate programs could be set up.
But the whole program aims to expand medical facilities in these countries, provide testing equipment, and train local medical personnel.
To give you an example, for Uzbekistan, South Korea will be dispatching a team of professionals to the ground to provide comprehensive consulting on health-related laws and systems, running hospitals, and educating doctors.
For African countries, Seoul will be focusing on upgrading their COVID-19 testing capabilities.
For Colombia, the government will concentrate on helping them run test centers and having sufficient medical equipment and hospital beds.

And Korea has also been calling for COOPERATION on a MULTILATERAL LEVEL I hear?

Sun-hee, the last time I was here, I remember telling you and our viewers that three groups were launched within the UN, WHO, and UNESCO to promote collaboration on COVID-19, as a result of South Korea's leadership.
Well, the group that was launched with Korea in the lead within the WHO -- the Group of Friends for Solidarity for Global Health Security -- spoke at the UN Security Council meeting last Thursday.
It was after the Security Council adopted resolution 25-32, the first COVID-19-related resolution that calls for a suspension of all hostile activities as the coronavirus could hinder world peace and security.
The solidarity group stressed that the world should be responding to the coronavirus outbreak based on multilateralism and coalition and protect vulnerable groups.
All in all, South Korea is working on an international level to stress that the meaning and value of cooperation should not be allowed to fade, especially when the whole world faces a deadly pandemic like COVID-19.

Right as the saying goes united we stand hopefully GLOBAL UNITY will BEAR fruit in the near future.
Jung-hee thank you for that coverage.
See you soon.
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