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Assembly speaker promotes Korea as site of WHO’s bio training center

South Korea‘s National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug (left) and World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pose at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
South Korea‘s National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug (left) and World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pose at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug met with the World Health Organization chief to discuss COVID-19 vaccine cooperation and the launch of the organization’s training hub, the speaker’s office said Thursday.

During his visit to Switzerland, Park met with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday and told him South Korea is an optimal place for the launch of its Global Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Hub, which is currently in the planning stages, according to his office.

“South Korea is equipped with the educational infrastructure and global vaccine production facilities needed for vaccine development,” Park said, adding that the country has already announced plans to invest $2 billion to build an education framework around the end-to-end process of vaccine development, production and quality management.

“This is why Korea, fully equipped with the required capacity, is the optimal venue for the Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Hub.”

In response, Ghebreyesus agreed that South Korea is a “strong candidate” and will be one of the finalists.

“The past two years were really challenging due to the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO might not have made it to where it is today without support from Korea,” Ghebreyesus said.

“Korea is the strongest candidate to be selected as the final choice. WHO hopes to expand collaboration with Korea.”

During the meeting, Park asked for WHO’s support in securing comparative vaccines.

The two also discussed their roles in providing vaccines to North Korea.

“The National Assembly and the administration in South Korea have a firm stance on the need to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea regardless of the political or security situation,” Park said.

The WHO chief also said he is willing to visit both South and North Korea to increase health cooperation, the Assembly office said.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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