Trump requests supplies from South Korea to help combat coronavirus, report says

President Donald Trump shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a joint press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on June 30, 2019.

Chung Sung-Jun | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Tuesday asked South Korean President Moon Jae-in for medical equipment to help combat coronavirus, according to a state-funded news agency

During a phone call between the two leaders, Moon said the country will provide “maximum support” if it is available, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported.

The South Korean leader also told Trump the support could require approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and Trump responded that he would seek the approval within the day, according to the outlet. It was not immediately clear what type of medical equipment Trump was seeking. 

South Korea has been praised for its swift and effective response to COVID-19, marked by rapid mass testing. The country, which has seen its number of new daily infections generally decline over the past several weeks, has exported test kits around the world.

The White House confirmed that the two leaders spoke on Tuesday but did not say whether Trump made such a request.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea discussed their nations’ respective efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” the White House said. “President Trump reiterated his commitment to employ the full weight of the United States Government and work with global leaders to save lives and restore economic growth.”

The phone call lasted 23 minutes and was made at Trump’s “urgent request,” Yonhap reported. It was the first phone call between the two leaders this year. 

Moon also used the call to praise the Federal Reserve’s decision to expand its currency exchange program, according to Yonhap. The Fed has announced it would extend lines known as dollar swaps to central banks in a number of countries, including South Korea, amid rising demand for dollars around the world. 

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