SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, February 11, 2020 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government said that it decided to provide aid support worth 600 million won for 12 cities in China in order to prevent the damages inflicted by the novel coronavirus and to prevent it from further spreading.
The 12 cities include Seoul’s sister city (Bejing), eight friendship cities (including Chongqing), and three Dongbei areas with a large population of ethnic Koreans.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government explained that such a help would build up the mutual trust and friendship by realizing the spirit of “相濡以沫,” a Chinese proverb meaning that people help each other in a difficult time. The city government provides this support aligned with what Beijing helped Seoul in 2015 when the MERS caused a huge reduction in the number of tourists visiting Seoul.
The Beijing government provided various support in 2015 when Seoul faced problems including the decreased number of foreign tourists coming to Seoul due to the MERS outbreak. In May Beijing dispatched a special envoy to Seoul and, in August, the Chinese capital gave support to arrange a large-scale open-air tourism marketing event when Seoul’s tourism promotion delegates including Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon visited Beijing.
In addition, Seoul has a plan to ensure that the prevention supplies will be provided to Koreans living in China who is facing difficulties upon the request of the Alliance of Chinese-Korean Society. The details and scale of the supplies were decided through discussion with the Chinese cities.
Seoul first provides medical supplies with a relatively small issue of supply for Seoul citizens and with a demand existing in the Chinese cities.
As the first step, Seoul will provide1,000 pieces of medical protective clothing, 500 medical goggles, 90 medical facial gears, and 30 portable infrared cameras. And then, Seoul plans to provide a stepwise support including the protective clothing, goggles and masks for general citizens considering the supply/demand status home and abroad. The KBIZ Korea Federation of SMEs will add its effort by collecting the support from its small and mid-sized member companies.
The support supplies will arrive the Chinese cities on February 12 (Wed.), departing Incheon on February 11 (Tue.). These supplies are attached with a cheering message saying, “守望相助, 共克时艰” (let’s overcome this difficulty by supporting each other), with the wishes that Chinese people can overcome this hardship as soon as possible and come back to the daily lives.
Meanwhile, according to the quick poll conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government between February 1st and 2nd, seven out of ten citizens find it proper that Seoul provided medical supplies to Wuhan city in China including 2 million pieces of masks.
Majority of the respondents said that the supportive measure was an appropriate action taken by a member of the international society (30.2% for humanitarian support and 24.4% for international cooperation to prevent the spread of infectious diseases). 11.5% said that the measure was necessary to maintain the friendly relations with China.
※ 23.9% responded that the measure was not proper as protecting the Korean people is the first priority.