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World China pledges further COVID-19 aid to Southeast Asia

07:25  08 june  2021
07:25  08 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

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China started extending Covid - 19 assistance to Southeast Asia in early February 2020, at a time when it was still in the thick of fighting the coronavirus threat within its own borders. However, Beijing’s aid to the rest of the world, including Southeast Asia , picked up momentum since March 2020 At the latter meeting, the countries agreed, among other things, to explore setting up an APT reserve of essential medical supplies to enable rapid response to emergency needs. They further committed to keep markets open for trade and investment, and strengthen the resiliency and sustainability of

Countries and territories in South Asia have been affected by the COVID - 19 pandemic. The first South Asian country to report a confirmed case was Nepal, which documented its first case on 23 January 2020, in a man who had returned from Wuhan on 9 January.

BEIJING (AP) — China on Tuesday pledged further assistance to Southeast Asian nations in battling the COVID-19 pandemic as it seeks to boost influence with the region where chief geopolitical rival the U.S. is also looking to strengthen ties.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Teodoro Locsin, foreign secretary of the Philippines that serves as the current country coordinator for ASEAN-China relations and attended by foreign ministers from ASEAN countries held in Chongqing, southwestern China, June 7, 2021. China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations this week in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region. (Wang Quanchao/Xinhua via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Teodoro Locsin, foreign secretary of the Philippines that serves as the current country coordinator for ASEAN-China relations and attended by foreign ministers from ASEAN countries held in Chongqing, southwestern China, June 7, 2021. China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations this week in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region. (Wang Quanchao/Xinhua via AP)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his counterparts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations that China had already delivered 100 million doses of vaccine to ASEAN nations along with other pandemic-fighting materials and technical help.

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COVID - 19 surges across Southeast Asia . Last year, Thailand’s neighbor Cambodia avoided the worst effects of the pandemic, moving quickly to shut down schools and entertainment venues, ban domestic travel and close borders. By mid-February, less than 500 total cases had been reported in a country of 16.5 million people. Many Southeast Asian nations are now doubling down on the strategies that allowed them to successfully fend off COVID - 19 thus far . Malaysia has declared a month-long national lockdown. Singapore has reimposed lockdown-like conditions, capping gatherings to two people and

Deng Xijun, Chinese ambassador to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said President Xi Jinping has committed to providing international aid over a two year period to support nations affected by the pandemic, including the southeastern region. "ASEAN countries can benefit from this Deng said China was ready to provide training to health professionals in Southeast Asia to help them treat patients infected by the deadly virus, which was first originated in the country’s central city of Wuhan. He noted that Beijing will share with ASEAN countries its experience of fight against COVID - 19 .

Wang likened the challenge to earlier economic crises, the 2003 SARS outbreak and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, saying all were faced with “practical action arising from feelings of brotherly concern and the care of watchful neighbors.”

“In the process of jointly overcoming challenges, we have deepened friendship, mutual trust and common interests," Wang told the ministers, assembled in the southwestern Chinese megacity of Chongqing for meetings marking the 30th anniversary of formal relations between China and ASEAN.

Wang said the sides should explore establishing an expert panel to strengthen cooperation throughout the vaccine process, from research to use, and work to build production and distribution centers to help make vaccines affordable and accessible in the region.

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South China Sea memorandum of understanding signed and Belt and Road Initiative commitments also made during weekend meeting. Indonesia is hoping to work with China on a complete Covid - 19 vaccine production chain, with the establishment of a regional manufacturing centre in the country. Photo: AP.

When COVID - 19 broke out, China and the US could have left their differences aside and fought a common enemy together, which was a rational and sensible thing to do. Sadly, the pandemic has enhanced the geopolitical contest between the US and China . This geopolitical contest was enhanced by US President Donald Trump's trade war against China . The US and some Western countries are using COVID - 19 as a means to embarrass China . They are making some allegations that this virus was secretly manufactured in a Chinese laboratory. However, in the West, the good thing is that you have

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations attended by foreign ministers from ASEAN countries, in Chongqing, southwestern China, Monday, June 7, 2021. China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations this week in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region. (Wang Quanchao/Xinhua via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations attended by foreign ministers from ASEAN countries, in Chongqing, southwestern China, Monday, June 7, 2021. China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations this week in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region. (Wang Quanchao/Xinhua via AP)

He said China would “urgently implement" the China-ASEAN Public Health Cooperation Initiative, continue to support the ASEAN Emergency Medical Materials Reserve and strengthen regional public health capacity-building. “China will work with ASEAN to overcome the outbreak as soon as possible," Wang said.

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In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, officials from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries attend the 19th Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in Chongqing, southwestern China, June 7, 2021. China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations this week in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region. (Wang Quanchao/Xinhua via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, officials from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries attend the 19th Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in Chongqing, southwestern China, June 7, 2021. China is hosting foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian nations this week in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing amid heightened competition between Beijing and Washington for influence in the region. (Wang Quanchao/Xinhua via AP)

Though COVID-19 was first detected in China in late 2019, the nation has largely stamped out domestic transmission, although it has been accused of insufficient transparency or even seeking to conceal the origins of the pandemic.

Beijing has been building influence with ASEAN, despite frictions with some members of the bloc over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. China's construction of islands and its military operations in the sea have brought complaints Beijing is militarizing the waterway.

China’s economic and diplomatic heft has helped override such concerns, however, while the bloc has been unable to form a unified stand in the face of opposition from Chinese allies within it, primarily Cambodia.

Wang made no direct reference to Myanmar, an ASEAN member where the military seized power Feb. 1 and has cracked down on widespread opposition. On Monday, he said China supported ASEAN’s non-interventionist approach.

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