China Holds First Meeting with South Asian Countries on Covid-19, Poverty Relief Cooperation

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China has held its first meeting with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to discuss COVID-19 and poverty relief cooperation besides resuming trade and economic ties disrupted by the pandemic. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing, here on Friday, that the first meeting with the South Asian countries on anti-epidemic cooperation and poverty reduction was held on January 6.

This is China's third meeting held with these countries to discuss cooperation to deal with COVID-19. In July last year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a video conference with his counterparts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal to discuss plans to contain COVID-19, boost economic recovery and the resumption of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.

Later in November last year, China conducted a Vice-Ministerial meeting on controlling COVID-19 with Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This is the first time China has included poverty relief, non-traditional security challenges besides COVID-19 cooperation in these meetings. Hua said the January 6 meeting was a follow up to the two ministerial conferences held last year. In this meeting, the representatives shared experience on anti-epidemic and poverty relief, she said.

They talked about dealing with the impact of the pandemic, resuming economic and trade cooperation, dealing with non-traditional security challenges and advancing sustainable development and reached initial consensus, she said. It shows our strong will and confidence in dealing with challenges together and achieving cooperation. China would like to work with all sides in implementing our consensus and make a greater contribution to building a regional community with a shared future for health, Hua said.