#Hot Issues of the Week l 2020-05-24
During the World Health Organization's annual assembly, President Moon Jae-in introduced how South Koreans chose to curtail individual freedoms in their joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“In that moment of crisis and challenge, the Korean people made a bold decision. We took our own individual freedoms and turned it into an even greater freedom -- freedom for all. Rather than regarding our neighbors as dangerous spreaders of the virus or enforcing nationwide lockdown measures, we chose to protect their safety for the sake of our own safety. In order to uphold free movement and keep the economy going, the Korean people chose to wear face masks, and participate actively in social distancing.“
In his pre-recorded speech sent to the World Health Assembly video conference on Monday, Moon urged the international community to unite under the "spirit of freedom for all," which he called the highest form of civic virtue.
"In the face of crisis, humankind must choose 'solidarity and cooperation' over the pursuit of individual interests. The world must unite under the banner of mutual trust and inclusiveness in the face of deepening crisis. If the international community firmly commits to the greater cause of freedom for all, we will undoubtedly overcome the current crisis quickly and bolster our hope for the post-COVID-19 era."
Moon also said countries should expand cross-border humanitarian assistance and work closely together to develop vaccines and treatments. He described them as public goods that must be distributed equitably to the whole world. In line with this, he promised that his government will fully support the efforts of the WHO’s related research.
“Sharing information and cooperating with one another demonstrates a power that no virus will ever have -- a power that only humans possess. COVID-19 is threatening our freedom, a universal virtue of all humankind, but it is solidarity and cooperation, based on such freedom, that will prove to be the strongest weapon we have to triumph over COVID-19.”
Moon added that South Korea will offer humanitarian aid worth 100 million dollars this year to vulnerable countries with poor health care systems.