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S. Korea, China vow to broaden economic exchanges despite pandemic

According to Yonhap News,

By Kang Yoon-seung SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and China agreed Friday to expand joint efforts to tackle the economic fallout from the new coronavirus pandemic and maintain the global supply chain.

Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo held a videoconference with his Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan to discuss ways to expand their economic ties amid the challenging business environment sparked by the pandemic, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

During the meeting, South Korea said its carmakers were able to promptly resume their production in China thanks to the two countries' joint efforts to maintain the supply chain.

Local carmakers depend heavily on China for labor-intensive products, including wiring harnesses, steering wheels and airbags.

Sung emphasized the example showed that the two countries can reduce the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic by working together closely.

Seoul also requested that Beijing consider easing its entry restrictions to allow officials from small- and medium-sized firms to make essential trips to the world's second-largest economy.

The meeting came after leaders of South Korea, China, Japan and ASEAN member states reaffirmed their commitment to making concerted efforts to overcome the coronavirus crisis during their special video summit on Tuesday.

President Moon Jae-in suggested that countries should make efforts to allow cross-border travel of essential people such as business leaders, medical professionals and humanitarian workers to an extent that does not undermine quarantine efforts.

China is the top trading partner of South Korea, accounting for a quarter of its total outbound shipments in 2019.

Seoul and Beijing also agreed to continue making efforts to complete the crucial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year to further promote global business activities.

ASEAN and its dialogue partners -- South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- effectively reached an agreement on RCEP in November, with the goal of signing the pact within this year.

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Source: Yonhap News (Apr. 17, 2020)

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