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Top diplomats of South Korea, Israel hold phone talks on trade, COVID-19

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (left) and Fineness Minister Avigdor Lieberman attend a cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday. (AP-Yonhap)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (left) and Fineness Minister Avigdor Lieberman attend a cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday. (AP-Yonhap)
Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, held phone talks on Wednesday to discuss bilateral ties, trade and the COVID-19 pandemic, the foreign ministry said.

During their first talks since the Israeli minister took office in June, Chung called for Lapid to maintain close communication to enhance relations between the two countries, the ministry said.

The two ministers agreed to continue cooperation in their response to the pandemic, as Chung noted the two countries' vaccine exchange deal in July paved the way for the effective use of vaccines.

Under the deal, South Korea received 700,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine with an agreement to return the same number of Pfizer vaccine doses from a future order to Israel later.

Chung and Lapid also agreed to work together for the early effectuation of a bilateral free trade agreement, formally signed in May, and to strengthen cooperation in trade, investment and technological innovation.

During the talks, the Israeli side called for Seoul's support for the "Working Definition of Antisemitism," adopted in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to raise awareness about antisemitism.

In response, Chung said that racial discrimination cannot be justified under any circumstances, and that the Seoul government will support it. (Yonhap)
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