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Chinese ambassador asks S. Korea to follow WHO stance

Posted February. 05, 2020 07:53,   

Updated February. 05, 2020 07:53


‘We can base our decisions on WHO recommendations,’ says Chinese ambassador

“I am not going to comment on Seoul's travel restrictions (entry restrictions on Chinese visitors),” said new Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming at a press conference held at the Chinese Embassy in Seoul on Tuesday.

He showed his displeasure rather than actively voicing his opposition to the South Korean government’s decision in a situation where Korean citizens’ criticism towards China is elevating due to the spread of the new coronavirus from China.

The ambassador said that he does not want South Korea to take on strong entry restrictions while quoting the stance of the World Health Organization. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the organization’s executive board that there was no need for measures that "unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade" in containing the virus.

“The WHO is the most scientific, authoritative organization (on health issues), and I believe that we can base our decisions on WHO recommendations,” the Chinese ambassador said. "In the wake of such an issue, we can be seen as part of a community sharing the common destiny. I hope we can respond to the disease outbreak while putting ourselves in each other's shoes."

Xing also used the press briefing to express appreciation for Seoul's support for Beijing's fight against the coronavirus. "South Korea, through various channels, has sent messages supporting China’s fight against the contagious disease, and provided us with precious other support," he said. "We will not forget this warm support for good." Seoul has decided to offer five million U.S. dollars in emergency assistance to China, along with three millions of protective masks and other relief items.

The South Korean government is keeping its stance on taking additional measures even though China spoke of its displeasure towards Seoul’s strengthened entry policy. “The ministry is reviewing continuously the adjustment of travel warnings,” Kim In-cheol, spokesperson of the South Korean Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Tuesday

Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com