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Trump says he has heard 'so much' about S. Korea amid coronavirus pandemic

08:42 March 27, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, March 26 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he has heard "so much" about South Korea since the coronavirus outbreak, as the country's handling of COVID-19 has been praised in American media and elsewhere.

During a daily White House press briefing on the coronavirus, Trump also said he has a great relationship with South Korean President Moon Jae-in but insisted the U.S. is doing a better job than South Korea by doing more coronavirus testing.

Trump has boasted since Tuesday that the U.S. has tested more people in eight days than South Korea did in eight weeks, but the claim was later proven to be incorrect and also diminished by the large difference in populations.

"I told you yesterday, eight days here because you heard so much about South Korea," Trump said. "The media kept talking, 'South Korea, South Korea.' We have a great relationship with President Moon of South Korea. But when I hear so much about South Korea -- so, in eight days, in eight days, we do more testing than they did in eight weeks. And it's a very highly sophisticated test."

Trump has been accused of bungling his administration's initial response to the pandemic, such as by failing to provide enough test kits for the virus.

In a phone call with President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday, Trump asked for South Korea's assistance with medical equipment, according to Moon's office, Cheong Wa Dae.

Trump and the White House have made no mention of such a request.

Earlier Thursday, Moon and Trump participated in a virtual meeting of leaders from the Group of 20 major economies to discuss their response to the pandemic.

At the press briefing, Trump named each leader by name.

"President Moon of, as you know, a country that we spend a lot of time in, South Korea," he said. "We're working very hard on that."

This Reuters photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump at a daily briefing on the coronavirus at the White House in Washington on March 26, 2020. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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