South Korea's Moon Jae-in calls for global solidarity, vaccine development, legally binding health regulations at World Health Assembly

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea gave a special address at the 73rd World Health Assembly on May 18th. He first included in his remarks a review of South Korea’s efforts to fight COVID-19, under the principle of "freedom for all". He explained how South Korea opted for options such as social distancing, the active wearing of face masks, and rigorous quarantine measures rather than choosing national lockdown measures. He also referenced South Korea’s ongoing partnership with major multilateral health initiatives including Gavi, the Global Fund, UNITAID, IVI, and CEPI. However, he stressed that the threats of global health pandemic are still widespread and highlighted the importance of vaccine development. In particular, he emphasized the following three points in his remarks:

  • Expand humanitarian assistance to partner countries with vulnerable healthcare systems. For example, South Korea will provide US$100 million in humanitarian aid to its partner countries while sharing experiences and data gathered on COVID-19
  • Cooperate globally for the development of vaccines and therapeutics including supporting WHO’s efforts. Vaccines and treatments should also be distributed equitably globally as public goods
  • Update the WHO international health regulations to be legally binding, share information transparently, set up a joint cooperation mechanism

Transcript – Yonhap News