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Ireland learning from S. Korea over coronavirus response: PM

South Korean President Moon Jae-in holds phone talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on May 4, 2020, in this photo provided by Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in holds phone talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on May 4, 2020, in this photo provided by Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap)

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Monday his country is taking its cue from South Korea in responding to the coronavirus, especially in carrying out aggressive testing and app-based contact tracing, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

He made the remarks while speaking on the phone with President Moon Jae-in, which marked Moon's 100th round of phone talks with foreign leaders since he took office in May 2017.

Varadkar was quoted as saying that his government has been inspired by South Korea's handling of COVID-19 and taken a similar step that has proven effective, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok said in a press release.

Especially, he added, the use of test kits imported from South Korea has been of big help, and he expressed interest in purchasing medical equipment including masks.

Moon replied that South Korea would actively consider providing Ireland with masks, citing a constant increase in local production.

Moon also thanked Ireland for having dispatched a battalion of troops to help South Korea fight against North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War and for its steadfast support for Seoul's peace initiative.

The prime minister said his nation remains willing to offer assistance in the process of establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula on the basis of its own peace experience.

Moon launched his phone summit diplomacy with a call with US President Donald Trump shortly after his inauguration. He has since had 99 more rounds of phone talks with his foreign counterparts or leaders of international organizations.

This year alone, Moon talked with 31 leaders or global agency chiefs, including Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, largely on the coronavirus issue. (Yonhap)
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