South Korea Must Support US Request for COVID-19 Medical Equipment by Raising Production

Cheongwadae has disclosed that President Donald Trump called President Moon Jae-in on March 24 and requested aid, asking if South Korea could provide medical equipment to support the United States’ handling of the coronavirus.* A U.S. president requesting aid directly from South Korea to overcome a domestic disaster is an unprecedented move. This shows just how urgent the situation in the United States is. Because Trump failed in his early response to COVID-19, there have been sharp increases in confirmed coronavirus cases, which have caused ‘capacity overload’ and harmed the United States’ domestic capability to effectively manage the situation. Trump made the situation worse while trying to lower anxieties by saying things like it was not worse than the flu and the risk for Americans was low. This is reminiscent of President Moon who said at first that the outbreak would end soon, until the Shincheonji large-scale contagion situation erupted.

The Moon administration must support the United States as best it can by mobilizing all of its resources and increasing production yields. It is only proper for President Moon to say he would “provide as much support as possible if the nation has a surplus.” From a humanitarian perspective and an ally’s point of view, this is to be expected.

South Korea and the United States have engaged in the strongest of alliances for the past 70 years. Approximately 57,000 U.S. soldiers died in the Korean War, and our two nations formed a blood alliance when they fought together in the Vietnam War. This cooperation is ongoing, from Afghanistan and Iraq to the recent issues surrounding the Strait of Hormuz. Luckily, the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War is approaching. Recently, President Moon has told Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping that “China’s hardships are our hardships,” but the United States is the country that should share its hardships with South Korea first.

Trump’s request for medical equipment from South Korea also has the effect of officially acknowledging the medical staff and medical industries of South Korea as the world’s best. The quality of the testing kits and drugs made by Korean biotech companies is acknowledged around the world, and requests for exports are flooding in. Right now, it is reported that there is a shortage of testing kits, masks and respirators in the United States. It is a good opportunity for our companies to enter the American market, as Trump has said the Federal Drug Administration would expedite approval procedures. America would also have a more favorable perception of South Korea. South Korea also received a good response for their customized relief when they sent diapers after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

*Editor’s note: Cheongwadae or the Blue House is a reference to the executive office and official resident of the president of South Korea.

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