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Govt. to explore ways to expand movement of 'essential' people among Korea, China, Japan

South Korean Health Minister Park Neunghoo (Yonhap)
South Korean Health Minister Park Neunghoo (Yonhap)

South Korea said Saturday it will explore ways to expand transnational movement and exchanges of businesspeople and doctors in Northeast Asia as it held a health ministers' meeting with China and Japan over the coronavirus.

The health ministers of South Korea, China and Japan agreed Friday to cooperate in tackling the coronavirus and developing a vaccine in their first teleconference since the virus emerged in China late last year.

South Korean Health Minister Park Neunghoo proposed the idea of expanding movement of essential figures, including scientists, doctors and businesspeople, among the three countries.

"The issue requires discussions of pan-government agencies. The government will explore possible ways (to expand movement) on the diplomatic side," Sohn Young-rae, a government official, in a briefing.

He said the government plans to flesh out details through cooperation with Beijing and Tokyo.

The tripartite teleconference involved South Korea's Park, China's Ma Xiaowei and Japan's Kato Katsunobu, as well as Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organization Western Pacific regional director.

The ministers agreed to exchange clinical and epidemiological information on COVID-19 and share their data on diagnosis and treatment of the virus.

Park stressed the need for systemic cooperation in infectious disease response as well as vaccine and drug development, Seoul's health ministry added.

The three-way gathering was launched in 2007 at the request of South Korea to deal with the Influenza A scare that swept through the world. (Yonhap)

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