H.E. Ahn Youngjip, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Embassy in Singapore, highlights how Singapore as a key partner in Korea’s New Southern Policy is constantly in communication with the Singapore government and kept informed, aware of each country’s needs and exploring ‘creative’ ways to address the outbreak
GIVEN the high travel volume between the Republic of Korea and Singapore (over 890,000 visitors in 2019), and the fact that Singapore is a transportation hub, the Korean Mission already has its hands full dealing with the travel restrictions arising from the CORVID-19 Outbreak. Given its many visiting citizens the Embassy has:
(a) kept the citizens constantly updated on the newest measures introduced by Singapore through the Embassy website and by disseminating the information to local Korean communities
(b) has maintained operational a 24/7 consular duty phone number to attend to citizens’ needs
(c) has been in touch with various Singaporean agencies to facilitate the request of Korean citizens, to the extent possible
In response to IN Diplomacy’s questions regarding how internally the Korean mission is coping with the outbreak here, Ambassador Youngjip said, “Starting 28 January, the Embassy has shifted to “Situation Room” mode, whereby the entire staff was reconfigured into five teams – (a) situation analysis, (b) on-site response, (c) media coverage, (d) consular and family support, and (e) administrative support.
“In line with the measures announced by the Singaporean government, the Embassy measured the temperature of its staff regularly, has placed hand sanitizers on various locations, ensured that those who feel unwell stay at home, provided masks to the consular section staff, and has placed thermal imagers at the main gateways. More recently we have split the staff into two to ensure functional continuity; each team comes alternatingly to the office every other day.”
But even during these challenging times, the Mission said Ambassador Youngjip is still paying great attention to the cooperation between Korea and Singapore. He explained: “Singapore is one of the key partners in Korea’s New Southern Policy. Regarding COVID-19 situation, the Embassy has been in touch with many Singaporean agencies to ensure that both sides are kept informed ahead of public announcements, that we are aware of each other’s concerns, and that we explore creative ways to address each other’s needs. However, sooner or later COVID-19 will become history. The Embassy wants to look beyond this crisis and thus we continue to discuss with our Singaporean counterparts ways to enhance our cooperation.”