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South Korean diplomat receives Chinese vaccine on behalf of 'fellow citizens'

South Korean diplomat receives Chinese vaccine on behalf of 'fellow citizens'
A senior South Korean diplomat in Shanghai said he received a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

April 13 (UPI) -- A senior South Korean diplomat in China became one of the few foreign diplomats in the country to publicly receive the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine.

South Korean Consul General to Shanghai Kim Seung-ho received one of the Chinese vaccines Friday at a hospital in the city, the South Korean consulate said, according to Yonhap on Tuesday.

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Kim told the South China Morning Post in February that he would receive the Chinese vaccine if it were made available in South Korea. South Korea has not approved the Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines, however.

The South Korean official told Yonhap in a phone interview that the vaccination was good for diplomacy and for "maintaining a good relationship with local authorities."

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"It is the most important thing to do for the best possible protection of South Korean citizens" in China, Kim said, according to the report.

A South Korean diplomatic source in another Chinese region that there are no reports of other foreign diplomats who plan to receive the Chinese vaccine. Seoul has said its diplomats in China can make their own vaccine choices.

Kim's decision to be administered the Chinese vaccine comes at a time of ongoing friction between the two countries over food and culture.

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Chinese state media claims that the Korean dish kimchi originally came from China has invited South Korean fury. South Korean retailers are making adjustments amid the dispute.

South Korean news service Kuki News reported Tuesday that discount retailer EMart is changing signs posted along store aisles. EMart is to remove Chinese signage for kimchi, which previously referred to the Korean dish as "pao cai," a different dish of Chinese origin, the report said.

South Koreans are shunning kimchi made in factories China after a video went viral online, but their public conversations are drawing reactions from Chinese nationals residing in the country.

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According to MBC News on Tuesday, police in the Gwanak district of Seoul is investigating a man, identified as a Chinese national, for creating a disturbance at a restaurant.

The Chinese man picked a fight with restaurant guests after overhearing them complain about Chinese-made kimchi, the report said.

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