China holds COVID-19 vice-ministerial meeting with Pak, Bangla, Nepal & Lanka

K J M Varma
·2-min read

Beijing, Nov 12 (PTI) China has hosted a vice-ministerial-level meeting with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka on controlling the COVID-19, expanding its first such meeting held in July involving Islamabad, Kathmandu and Kabul.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui hosted the virtual meeting.

“To jointly defeat COVID-19, protect people's life, safety and health, and accelerate economic and social recovery and development, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka convened a vice-ministerial-level video conference on COVID-19 response on November 10,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The five countries had 'in-depth exchanges on cementing the political consensus on jointly fighting COVID-19, enhancing cooperation on containing the coronavirus and restoring economic development and movement of people and achieved positive results,” the statement said.

This is the second ministerial meeting held by China involving the South Asian region on COVID-19. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a similar meeting with his counterparts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal in July.

China has pledged that COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good, the statement said.

China is also ready to consider providing vaccines to developing countries positively, the other four countries included, it said.

In the context of long-term COVID-19 containment, the five countries will uphold multilateralism, firmly support the World Health Organisation in playing a leading role in the global fight against COVID-19.

They reiterated their opposition to 'politicisation and stigmatisation' by using COVID-19, and also agreed that the autumn and winter seasons are a crucial period for its containment and vowed to strengthen information sharing and coordination of policies and actions to cope with the impact of its second wave.

The Chinese side is ready to step up cooperation with the other four parties in testing, diagnostics, treatment and medicine, and continue to provide them with assistance of containment supplies, the statement said.

They agreed that countries linked by land ports should establish joint response mechanisms in border areas.

Standard operating procedures will be developed on COVID-19-related notification, border control, containment measures at points of entry and emergency response to prevent cross-border transmission.

They also agreed on the importance of coordinating COVID-19 response and economic and social development, and will advance the Belt and Road cooperation to boost post-COVID-19 economic recovery and development, it said.

“In a spirit of mutual trust, openness and win-win cooperation, the Five Parties welcome other regional countries to join the cooperation against COVID-19 and are ready to engage in dialogue and communication with them,” the statement added.

According to Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the coronavirus has so far infected more than 52 million people and killed over 1.2 million others globally after it emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year. PTI KJV CPS AKJ CPS