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Moon, Modi agree on 'people-first' approach to coronavirus crisis

President Moon Jae-in holds a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in holds a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Yonhap

The leaders of South Korea and India agreed Thursday on the importance of making people's lives and health the top priorities amid the coronavirus pandemic, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Speaking by phone with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the world would change following the COVID-19 outbreak, as it did after World War II.

He was quoted as saying that people should be at the heart of all policies and strategies, going forward.

Moon pointed out Modi's call for a people-first approach against the virus and free sharing of benefits from medical R&D during his speech at the G-20 virtual summit last month.

The president expressed his support for Modi's view in the 35-minute phone talks made at the prime minister's request, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok said.

Moon also held out expectations that the two sides will allow "urgent visits" by each other's business people, despite strict travel restrictions aimed at curbing the cross-border spread of COVID-19.

"I hope that essential exchanges with India, which is a core partner for South Korea on the New Southern Policy, will be maintained," Moon said.

He asked for the Indian government's continued help with the operation of chartered flights for the return of South Koreans living on the subcontinent.

Modi said India would cooperate with South Korea on all matters.   

The premier pointed out that the international community is praising South Korea for its science-based handling of the coronavirus. Moon said South Korea would "actively consider" providing India with additional test kits if necessary. (Yonhap)

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