In virtual summits, Moon stresses need for global travel
Korean President Moon Jae-in stressed the importance of coordinated efforts to overcome Covid-19 in a virtual Group of 20 (G-20) leaders’ summit Saturday, including keeping up essential cross-border travel.
The two-day G-20 Riyadh summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, convened with the theme of “Realizing the Opportunities of the 21st Century for All,” and major leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies took part in virtual sessions.
In his address during a side session on “Pandemic Preparedness and Response,” Moon emphasized the need for equitable distribution of vaccines and treatments in order to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Korea will work in partnership with the international community to put a complete end to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Moon. “We will marshal the forces to develop and distribute vaccines and treatments that everyone is longing for.”
He noted that Korea is actively participating in the World Health Organization’s efforts to guarantee equitable access to vaccines, joined the Covax Facility mechanisms and will beef up cooperation with the International Vaccine Institute headquarters in Seoul to scale up humanitarian assistance.
“A quick global economy recovery is another urgent challenge,” Moon added. “I hope that essential cross-border movements of goods and people will further be revitalized.”
He encouraged fast-track entry systems to allow 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,” said Moon. “I hope that the efforts of the G-20 will inspire hope to the world.”
Moon was among leaders of six countries, including France, Germany, Italy, South Africa and Argentina, to be invited by Saudi Arabia to speak on their experiences dealing with the pandemic.
U.S. President Donald Trump was present for the opening session of his final G-20 summit but was spotted tweeting accusations of election fraud during other leaders’ speeches and reportedly skipped the pandemic preparedness session to go golfing.
The first session of the summit was on “Overcoming the pandemic and restoring growth and jobs,” and on the second day of the summit, G-20 leaders were set to focus on ways for "Building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future.”
The G-20 leaders were expected to adopt a joint communiqué on the results of the summit.
Blue House spokesperson Kang Min-seok said in a briefing Sunday that a clause on further discussions to allow for easier travel of essential personnel including businesspeople, an idea that was proposed by Moon, will be included in the G-20 joint communiqué.
The G-20 leaders were expected to commit to “continue to seek for specific measures for smoother travel of personnel,” said Kang.
The G-20 leaders were also expected to underscore their commitment to a multilateral trading system in the joint communiqué, in cooperation with international financial institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to a draft statement, the leaders were expected to pledge to support the fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments to make sure poorer countries are not left out.
The G-20 countries account for about 80 percent of the global economy.
On Friday night, Moon Jae-in participated in a virtual summit with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries, chaired by Malaysia, and also stressed the importance of resuming travel of essential personnel and so-called inclusive economic recovery.
He suggested a mechanism to restore the ability of businesspeople to travel, particularly within the APEC region, sharing Korea’s experience of keeping its borders open amid the pandemic.
Moon noted Korea has offered humanitarian aid worth over $100 million in cooperation with international organizations and pledged further contributions to the global community to end the pandemic.
The APEC group currently has 21 member countries, and leaders including U.S. President Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga joined the virtual summit.
BY SARAH KIM [email@example.com]