China deepens anti-COVID co-op with S. Asian nations


BEIJING: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met virtually with his counterparts from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Tuesday to discuss efforts on COVID-19 fight and post-pandemic economic recovery, on which vaccine cooperation and supply chain stability became major concerns. China also extended the invitation to India to attend the online meeting. Despite the absence of New Delhi in the meeting, Beijing is still committed to helping it fight the pandemic.
Given the grave epidemic situation in India, it has become an urgent task to protect people of South Asia countries from the spillover effect of the outbreak in India, experts said. The foreign ministers who attended the online meeting also reached an agreement to build China-South Asia emergency supply reserves. Experts said it is the most urgent task, as the outbreak in India also disrupted vaccine supplies in the region as India is a major vaccine manufacturing hub.
Wang reiterated during the virtual meeting that China firmly opposes willful and illegal interference with other countries’ internal affairs or coercing others to pick sides, and unilateral, protectionist and bullying tactics still damage other countries’ sovereignty, safety and development interests. China and five South Asian countries agreed on building a reserve platform for emergency-response supplies while enhancing capabilities in dealing with huge public health crises and exploring COVID-19 vaccine cooperation, opposing any form of “vaccine nationalism” and vowing to close the immunity gap.
– The Daily Mail-Global Times News exchange item