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China, ASEAN Foreign Ministers Look to Coordinate Fight Against Coronavirus at Special Vientiane Meet

Thong Sotha​​   On February 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm​   In International  
China, ASEAN Foreign Ministers Look to Coordinate Fight Against Coronavirus at Special Vientiane Meet China, ASEAN Foreign Ministers Look to Coordinate Fight Against Coronavirus at Special Vientiane Meet

China and Asean kicked off a Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane on Thursday (Feb 20) with a view to coordinate efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has left more than 2,000 dead.

The meeting started with a rallying cry of “Stay strong, Wuhan! Stay strong, China! Stay strong, ASEAN!” by the ministers at a joint photo session.

The meeting, co-chaired by Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, was also attended by other ASEAN members’ foreign ministers and Asean Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi.

During the special meeting in the Laos capital, the foreign ministers of China and ASEAN were set to exchange views and explore ways and means of cooperation to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The meeting was also intended to demonstrate solidarity between China and the ASEAN grouping, as well as their determination to jointly battle the outbreak.

Speaking at a dinner gathering on Wednesday evening, Mr. Wang told his Asean counterparts that China is confident of winning the fight against Covid-19 with the support of the international community, including ASEAN.

On Wednesday, Mr. Wang held a meeting with Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, during which the Chinese Foreign Minister expressed hope that Thursday’s Special Asean-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting would not only explore ways to cope with the epidemic, but also enhance cooperation on public health in the region and promote the capacity of regional countries in meeting the challenges of public health such as this epidemic.

Mr. Wang thanked Singapore for the support it has provided China in fighting the disease, which he said embodied the excellent tradition between the two countries of always supporting and helping each other in difficult times.

He said the friendship between the two countries would be deepened by the joint fight against the epidemic, and also declared that cooperation between the two countries would be widened after the epidemic is brought to an end.

Dr. Balakrishnan said China has been dealing with the epidemic in a highly responsible manner and taking measures rarely seen in the world.

China also shared information with the international community at the onset of the epidemic, thus providing valuable help to countries like Singapore, he said.

Singapore highly appreciates and respects China’s arduous endeavor and sacrifice, said the Singapore minister, adding that Singapore would continue to firmly support China.

Singapore is willing to pursue communication and cooperation with China, and will spare no effort to bring the epidemic under control in order to restore normal exchanges, Dr. Balakrishnan added.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.

The Singapore side expects frequent high-level exchanges with China, Dr. Balakrishnan said, with a view to beef up construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, actively promote the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Founded in 1967, Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Straight Time