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Seoul mayor suggests creation of intercity network to combat pandemic

(Seoul Metropolitan Government)
(Seoul Metropolitan Government)

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Tuesday suggested the creation of an intercity organization to better respond to infectious diseases such as COVID-19, during an online meeting with mayors of 42 international cities.

Putting forward the “Seoul Statement,” Park called for the creation of a network of municipal governments, tentatively named “Cities Alliance Against Pandemic,” which would help facilitate rapid, transparent information-sharing and exchanges of goods and people among cities.

The suggestion came as part of a five-day online global summit -- The Cities Against COVID-19 Global Summit 2020 -- which the Seoul Metropolitan Government is hosting via videoconference from Monday through Friday with an aim to prepare for the post-coronavirus era.

On Tuesday, Park introduced the government’s know-how on its fight against COVID-19 in the country’s capital -- home to nearly 10 million people -- during his 10-minute keynote speech.

Other mayors and governors -- including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan -- also shared their experiences of coping with the pandemic.

Mayors of more than 40 cities around the globe, city officials, experts and scholars are taking part in online discussions on major topics, ranging from climate to education, Seoul officials said.

The summit is livestreamed through Seoul City government’s YouTube channels as well as Arirang TV, with simultaneous interpretation to be available between English and Korean.

During Wednesday’s session on climate and environment, Park will put forward his vision for a “Green New Deal” for Seoul to make the country’s capital emissions-free.

On Thursday, Park will hold a one-on-one talk with Jared Mason Diamond, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Guns, Germs and Steel.” They will share their assessment of Seoul’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and discuss tasks for a post-coronavirus era.

More information about the summit -- from how to participate to detailed programs -- is available in Korean and in English on at www.cac2020.or.kr. Seoul City government’s know-how in combating the COVID-19 pandemic is available at http://english.seoul.go.kr/covid.

By Ock Hyun-ju (laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)
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