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Chinese envoy asks Seoul to ‘follow WHO guidelines’
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.02.04 12:10
  • Updated 2020.02.04 17:34
  • comments 0

While the public's demand for outright entry ban of Chinese nationals is increasing to stem the further spread of the new coronavirus, China’s diplomatic mission chief here requested the Korean government to “abide by the WHO’s guidelines.”

Chinese Ambassador to Korea Xing Haiming

"China and Korea are friendly neighbors, and there is a lot of travel between the two countries," the Chinese Ambassador to Korea Xing Haiming told a news conference Tuesday. "We would appreciate Korea's understanding and support for each other in responding to the new coronavirus."

The Chinese government is taking full and strict measures against the new coronavirus and is cooperating with the international community in an open, transparent and responsible manner, the new Chinese ambassador pointed out. Ambassador Xing, who arrived in Seoul on Jan. 30 and has yet to receive his credentials, held a hurriedly arranged news conference.

Xing’s news conference came as the Korean government’s entry ban on all foreigners from China's Hubei province took effect on Tuesday.

Despite the government's action, a growing number of Korean people, including experts, have said the measure is insufficient to fight the rapidly spreading new coronavirus and demanded a ban on entries from all of China.

Ambassador Xing said that he “would not evaluate much” the Korean government's actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection, indirectly expressing disappointment with Seoul’s decision. “However, what’s global and scientific are the bases coming from the World Health Organization, and, therefore, it may be a responsible move to follow the decisions made by the WHO.

The WHO declared an international health emergency with the novel coronavirus outbreak last Friday but did not recommend travel restrictions. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that there was no reason for measures that affect international travel and trade.

"In general, limiting the movement of people and products during public health emergencies could be ineffective and may negatively affect the necessary aid and technical support," Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO head recently reiterated his agency's position asking all countries to implement consistent decisions based on evidence.

Despite the WHO's recommendations, however, countries around the world, including the United States and Japan, are banning the entry of foreigners from all of China.

The United States has tentatively banned entry into the country for foreign nationals who have been to China for the last two weeks. Japan also refused entry for all foreigners who had stayed in Hubei Province for the past two weeks. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Guatemala have announced restrictions on the entry of travelers from China, while Vietnam, Italy, and Russia have canceled most flights to and from China.

"The Korean government and people are actively supporting the Chinese people," the Chinese envoy said. "The Chinese side expresses deep gratitude, and the Chinese people will not forget the help that Koreans gave forever."


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