Seoul, 10 December 2021 (TDI): The Vice Foreign Minister of South Korea (Republic of Korea/ROK), Choi Jongmoon attended the USAID Development Ministerial on COVID-19. The virtual Ministerial was hosted by the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power.

During the meeting, Vice Minister Choi Jongmoon emphasized the need for unhindered provision of Covid-19 vaccines to the developing countries. This will help to support the capacity-building efforts of the developing countries in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with the advent of the latest Omicron variant. The Vice Minister urged for the need to cooperate with regional organizations in achieving the goal of equal dissemination of vaccines.

The United States Agency for International Development or the USAID, as is commonly known is an independent agency of the United States federal government. It is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid as well as development assistance.

The meeting was a follow-up to the Global COVID-19 Summit hosted by US President, Joe Biden in September and the COVID-19 Ministerial hosted by US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

Representatives from more than 20 governments and regional organizations attended the meeting. These include representatives from the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU), the Global Fund as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank.

Choi Jongmoon underscored that the world must address global vaccine inequality and should work together to ensure the effective mobilization of the global health systems to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, the international community needs to provide greater targeted support to regional organizations. The Korean government is working with regional organizations such as the African Union (AU) and ASEAN to improve vaccine roll-out and uptake.

Korea, together with neighboring countries, has launched the “Northeast Asia Cooperation for Health Security (NEACHS) to reinforce regional health capacities.

In addition, Korea will provide vaccines to the African region in partnership with the AU, UNICEF, and COVAX. This commitment is aside from its previous pledge of 210 million USD contributions to COVAX AMC, enunciated the Vice Foreign Minister.