Doha, 12 May 2020 (Qatar Tribune)
By Ashraf Siddiqui
THE Ambassador of South Korea to Qatar HE Kim Chang-mo has praised the wise leadership of the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani and Qatar’s government for taking effective measures to protect the country and its residents from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talking to Qatar Tribune, the ambassador said that as a country that has experienced the pandemic relatively earlier, South Korea is trying to help Qatar in its countermeasures against COVID-19 by organising web seminars for knowledge-sharing and supplying Korean test kits.
Chang-mo said: “As the situation stabilises further in South Korea, I expect more cooperation between our two countries in combating the virus.”
According to him, about 2,000 Korean community members in Qatar highly appreciate Qatari authorities for their efforts to manage COVID-19. He said that the Korean expats in Qatar are strictly following preventive guidelines including social distancing.
Responding to a query on the changes in his daily routine life due to COVID-19, he said these days he spends most of his time at the embassy, going out only when extremely necessary. He said that most of the official activities are carried out through telephone or video-conferencing.
He said that with the reduced working hours due to the Holy Month of Ramadan, he gets plenty of time to read books, watch Korean movies and dramas, do meditation and talk to family members back home.
Replying to a question if COVID-19 would leave a lasting impact on people’s lifestyles, he said technological advancement would certainly change socialising patterns and e-commerce will be the main source of economic transactions.
The diplomatic ties between Qatar and South Korea were established 46 years ago, in April, 1974. Both countries enjoy close bilateral economic relations as Qatar is the number one LNG supplier and eighth largest foreign construction market for South Korea and Korea is the number two trade partner of Qatar. There are around 37 fully-owned South Korean companies operating in Qatar in trade, contracting, construction and information technology sectors. Moreover, there are 140 joint Qatar-Korean companies.
Qatar and Korea held their fifth high-level Strategic Cooperation Committee meetings in the last quarter of 2019.