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Korea, China, Japan sign agreement on fighting Ebola

South Korea, China and Japan have signed a joint statement outlining their efforts to strengthen three-way cooperation for preventing the Ebola virus from spreading in the three countries, Seoul’s health minister said Sunday.

Minister Moon Hyung-pyo and his Chinese and Japanese counterparts Li Bin and Yasuhisa Shiozaki agreed to enhance exchanges of information to keep the deadly virus from entering their borders and take precautionary measures.

Health officials from the three nations will hold a trilateral meeting on Wednesday in South Korea’s Jejudo Island to discuss how to implement the agreement, Moon told reporters in Beijing.

“This round of talks was very useful for the three nations to establish a coordinated system against (the spread of) Ebola,” Moon said. “The three ministers also agreed to actively join an international humanitarian assistance program to root out Ebola.”

More than 5,000 people have died from Ebola since the worst-ever outbreak of the virus nearly a year ago.

South Korea has been preparing to dispatch an Ebola treatment team to Sierra Leone, where Britain is currently building a large-scale treatment center.

Moon said no exact date has been set for the planned dispatch of the South Korean medical team to Sierra Leone, but it could take place “sometime in December.”

The health ministers of South Korea, China and Japan have held a trilateral meeting every year since 2007, but the joint statement on Ebola came amid persistent diplomatic strains among the three nations.

Tensions between China and Japan run deep from competing claims over islands in the East China Sea. Relations between Seoul and Tokyo also remain frayed over Japan’s unrepentant attitude over its wartime atrocities, including the sexual enslavement of women by the Japanese military during World War II.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, held their first formal summit in Beijing earlier this month on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

By Claire Lee and news reports (dyc@heraldcorp.com)

















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