President Moon Jae-in will hold a meeting with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourlar in New York on Tuesday, during his five-day trip to the US for the UN General Assembly, Cheong Wa Dae said.
During the meeting, the president is expected to express his gratitude toward the US vaccine maker’s COVID-19 vaccine supply and ask support for future partnership.
Moon has held a series of meetings with leaders of global vaccine makers, including Moderna, AstraZeneca and Curevac, in recent months as part of his government’s efforts to speed up its vaccination campaign.
The president also plans to attend a signing ceremony for a Seoul-Washington vaccine partnership, an outcome of his first summit with President Joe Biden in May in Washington. Under the agreement, the two nations will work together to support vaccine development and production in both countries.
During the May summit, the two leaders agreed to boost their vaccine partnership by seeking synergy between the US’ vaccine development technology and Korea’s manufacturing capabilities. Korea, home to Samsung Biologics and SK Bioscience, is the world’s second-largest producer of biomedicines.
The strategic partnership is also key to Korea’s vision for hosting an Asian vaccine production hub.
The government recently unveiled a new 2.2 trillion won ($1.92 billion) plan to invest in vaccine development and production over the next five years, with the aim of debuting its first locally developed COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of next year and becoming one of the top five vaccine producers by 2025.
Besides vaccine-related meetings, Moon has a packed schedule for his US trip. He will deliver a keynote speech at the UN General Assembly that convenes Tuesday for two weeks and attend a separate SDG Moment session along with K-pop group BTS to discuss global challenges and urge action from future generations.
On the sidelines of the event, bilateral meetings, including summit talks with his Vietnamese and Slovenian counterparts, are expected to be arranged before he heads to Honolulu to attend a ceremony marking the return of the remains of US soldiers who died in the Korean War and other veterans’ events there.
He and first lady Kim Jung-sook are scheduled to return to Korea Thursday.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org