The Chinese ambassador to South Korea, Xing Haiming, expressed gratitude Tuesday for Seoul's recent assistance in containing the new coronavirus in China.
The ambassador was speaking in a press conference in Seoul.
"The South Korean government and people from all walks of life are backing us in our battle against this epidemic. China expresses deep gratitude for this. Our people will never forget this warm affection."
The South Korean government has offered China millions of masks and tens of thousands of protective clothings and goggles to help contain the virus.
Similar forms of assistance are coming from the private sector as well.
The Chinese envoy added that Beijing is doing its best to ensure the safety of South Korean nationals in China, in close cooperation with Seoul.
But Ambassador Xing also referenced comments from the World Health Organization, saying that beating the coronavirus does not require widespread travel bans.
He highlighted that the WHO declared the outbreak an international public health emergency to strengthen global quarantine measures NOT because it didn't trust Beijing to contain the virus.
"Director-General Tedros says the current outbreak is a universal challenge, and so countries around the world should avoid discrimination and that there's no need for measures that unnecessarily hinder international travel and trade. Countries should make scientific decisions based on the WHO's directions."
The message from China comes as South Korea, on the very same day, started banning the entry of non-Korean travelers coming from or through China's Hubei Province.
Calls are growing among the public for this entry ban to be applied to people from all parts of China.
It is quite rare for a foreign ambassador to engage in a public activity before presenting his credentials to the host nation's president.
The press conference on Tuesday took place only five days after the envoy took office.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.