South Korea has vowed to play a role in achieving the global goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population against COVID-19 by the middle of next year in a move to ensure a sustainable economic recovery, the trade and foreign ministries said Wednesday.
Foreign minister Chung Eui-yong made the pledge during the ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation via videoconferencing, which took place Monday and Tuesday, and brought together foreign and trade ministers of 21 member states.
“Minister Chung stressed that the expansion of vaccination programmes is key to a regional economic recovery, as well as the reopening of borders and the restoration of supply chains,” the ministries said in a joint release.
Chung also expressed Seoul’s will to join global efforts to provide vaccines to other nations to help achieve the 70 percent milestone, a goal adopted during a meeting of the Group of 20 leaders in October.
A key agenda item at the Apec meeting was how to better respond to the pandemic.
Wrapping up the two-day talks, the 21 member nations issued a joint statement calling for collective policy commitments “to ensure a resilient and sustainable long-term recovery.”
“We will accelerate our efforts to expand vaccine manufacturing and supply, to support global vaccine sharing efforts, and to encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies on mutually agreed terms,” the statement read.
The participants also vowed to work harder to find ways of facilitating safe cross-border travel, and to advance economic integration in the region by supporting efforts for more free trade deals.