China holds meet with Pak, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh to jointly fight Covid
A Chinese statement said the five parties welcome “other regional countries to join the cooperation against Covid-19”.
China has hosted a high-level virtual meeting with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka to build up “political consensus” in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and boosting economic development.
The “five-parties” meeting, termed so by the Chinese foreign ministry in a late-night statement on Thursday, was an expansion of a similar meeting held in July involving Pakistan, Nepal, and Afghanistan, and hosted by foreign minister, Wang Yi.
This week’s meeting was convened by Chinese vice foreign minister Luo Zhaohui, China’s former ambassador to India.
“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 parties 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 added.
The Chinese statement emphasised the importance of advancing projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), President Xi Jinping’s multi-billion-dollar inter-continental infrastructure project.
India has declined Chinese proposals to join the BRI citing sovereignty issues – India remains the only south Asian country to not join the initiative.
“Infrastructure connectivity under the framework of the BRI will be advanced at a faster pace. Smooth transportation of goods at border ports will be facilitated with sufficient containment measures in place,” the Chinese statement added.
Beijing 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.
“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.