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MIKTA countries join forces to meet challenges of pandemic era

Speaker Park Byeong-seug hosts the 6th MIKTA Speakers’ Consultation. (Yonhap)
Speaker Park Byeong-seug hosts the 6th MIKTA Speakers’ Consultation. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s National Assembly presided over the sixth MIKTA Speakers’ Consultation on video Thursday. The theme of the event was “Complex challenges and parliamentary leadership in a pandemic era.”

Launched in 2013, MIKTA is a consultative body made up of five middle powers -- Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey and Australia -- that share the core values of democracy and a free-market economy.

Since 2015, each of the five member states has hosted one meeting with Korea serving as the chair. This year National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug led the discussion.

The other participants were Puan Maharani, speaker of the House of Representatives of Indonesia; Mustafa Sentop, speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey; Sen. Jorge Carlos Ramirez Marin, deputy speaker of the Mexican Senate; and Sen. Sue Lines, deputy president of the Australian Senate.

At the end of the meeting, the five countries adopted a joint statement recognizing common challenges such as protectionism, unemployment and discrimination highlighted by the pandemic; resolving to exercise leadership and build partnerships in member states to share quarantine information, fairly distribute vaccines and treatments and strengthen multilateralism; and recognizing the responsibility of legislators to accommodate the socially and economically marginalized, emphasizing women’s equality.

During the meeting, the five countries discussed ways to address the growing issues of protectionism and polarization, which are spreading with the pandemic.

The conference consisted of two sessions, titled “Five years of the MIKTA Speakers’ Consultation: Challenge in a pandemic era” and “Inclusive parliamentary leadership for the socially vulnerable in a pandemic crisis.”

In the first session, the parliamentary leaders shared their views on the new crises and challenges that COVID-19 presents to the international community. These included the ability to respond to infectious diseases, the equitable distribution of vaccines and treatments, and the importance of an economic recovery and gender equality.

“We must improve and strengthen the current global health governance led by the WHO to overcome COVID-19 and prepare for similar health emergencies, and this requires cooperation among MIKTA member countries,” said Speaker Park Byeong-seug of the Korean National Assembly.

“As MIKTA agreed to serve as a bridge between developed and developing countries and between and among different regions, the MIKTA Speakers’ Consultation needs to support the efforts of the international community toward the development and equitable distribution of vaccines and therapeutics.”

The second session shared the achievements and tasks of each country’s parliament to support various socially disadvantaged people, including women, senior citizens, people with disabilities, refugees, people living in poverty and self-employed businesspeople.

Jorge Carlos Ramirez Marin of Mexico introduced some of the measures his country has taken, including remote learning through television broadcasts and government subsidies for vulnerable populations. He also discussed the current status and challenges facing migrants from neighboring countries in Central America.

Speaker Puan Maharani introduced Indonesia’s expansion of state spending to provide for health care, a stronger social protection system and its national economic recovery programs.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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