CORONAVIRUS/Korean business body donates 5,000 COVID-19 test kits to Taiwan

06/06/2022 02:01 PM
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Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢, second right), chairman of the ROC-Korea Business Council under the CIECA, accepts rapid test kits donation from Federation of Korean Industries representative Chung Byung-won (second left).
Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢, second right), chairman of the ROC-Korea Business Council under the CIECA, accepts rapid test kits donation from Federation of Korean Industries representative Chung Byung-won (second left).

Taipei, June 6 (CNA) One of South Korea's most powerful business organizations donated a batch of 5,000 COVID-19 rapid test kits to Taiwan on Monday to help the country combat a serious coronavirus outbreak.

The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), which represents several hundred companies in Seoul, made the donation via the Korean Mission in Taipei to the Taipei-based Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association (CIECA) during a ceremony in Taipei.

Speaking at the event, the head of the Korean Mission in Taipei, which represents Korean interests in Taiwan in the absence of the official diplomatic ties, said though the donated kits are relatively small in number, the donation is a symbolic gesture of the strong and close bilateral ties between the two sides.

"We want to help our neighbor," representative Chung Byung-won (鄭炳元) said via an interpreter.

Chung also noted that Taiwan and South Korea are each other's fifth-largest trading partners.

In 2021, bilateral trade between the two countries totaled US$50.76 billion, a growth of 41.98 percent over the previous year according to CIECA numbers.

The number of bilateral visits also exceeded 2.5 million in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak inearly 2020.

Chung said he hoped that the donated test kits would be put to good use while looking forward to Taiwan and Korea resuming normal trade and human-to-human exchanges in the latter half of this year.

Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢), chairman of the ROC-Korea Business Council under the CIECA, who received the batch of rapid test kits on behalf of Taiwan, expressed the country's gratitude for the donation at the ceremony.

According to Chuang, this marks the third time FKI has made a donation to Taiwan during a time of need.

FKI donated US$200,000 for the 921 Earthquake in 1999 and US$300,000 for the Typhoon Morakot in 2009, according to Chuang.

"A friend in need is a friend in deed," Chuang said, while thanking the Korean side for the timely donation as Taiwan is in the midst of a heavy domestic COVID-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, Chuang said that since 1968, the CIECA and FKI have taken turns to host an annual bilateral joint meeting to maintain business communication channels and promote economic and trade cooperation between Taiwan and Korea.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Joint Conference between ROC-Korea and Korea-Taiwan Business Councils was suspended, and the 2021 conference was held in a virtual format, according to Chuang.

Chuang said this year's meeting is expected to be held in an in-person format in Taipei in October, after the pandemic subsides.

According to the CIECA, the donated test kits will be given to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who will then decide how to allocate them.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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