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China’s Foreign Minister promises to do utmost in supporting India’s fight against COVID-19

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China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi promised to do the utmost in supporting India’s fight against the COVID-19 surge and said that anti-pandemic materials produced in China were entering India at a faster pace.

In a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Wang said that the Chinese side “shares empathy for the challenges facing India and expresses sincere sympathy”.

“The coronavirus is the common enemy of mankind, and the international community needs solidarity and coordination for a concerted response. The Chinese side firmly supports the Indian Government and people in fighting the pandemic,” he wrote in the letter, a copy of which was tweeted by Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong.

Wang said that anti pandemic materials produced in China are entering India at a faster pace to help India fight the epidemic.

“The Chinese side will continue to do its utmost to provide support and help according to the needs of India. We hope and believe that under the leadership of the Indian Government, the Indian people will surely prevail over the epidemic at an early date,” he added.

Wang’s letter came even as the militaries of the two countries are yet to resolve the disengagement from the remaining areas of eastern Ladakh after the withdrawal from Pangong lake area in February.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Thursday termed as “fake news” the reports of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum’s (USISPF) allegations that Beijing has stopped shipments of oxygen concentrators being procured from China to be delivered to India to meet the oxygen shortages in view of the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Asked about the media reports quoting Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO of Washington based USISPF, stating China has stopped all-cargo flights delaying his organisation’s efforts to source one lakh oxygen concentrators from China to India, Wang Wenbin said it is “fake news”.

Aghi was quoted as saying that in order to overcome logistics challenges, his organisation is sourcing the oxygen concentrators from China for easy transportation to India.

He alleged that in view of Chinese action to stop the logistics flights to India, the concentrators are to be routed through Tokyo and Dubai resulting in delay.

”This is fake news… reports that China has stopped transport of oxygen generators procured by the USA to India is fake news,” the spokesman said.

He, however, declined to respond to questions about when state-run Sichuan Airlines which had suspended all 11 of its cargo flights to India resulting in disruption of procurement of oxygen concentrators would resume its flights.

After the announcement to suspend the flights on April 26 in view of the COVID-19, the airline retracted its decision and said it is working out a new plan to resume the services. But so far it has not announced any new schedule.

Asked when the airline would resume its operations, Wang Wenbin said, ”I would refer you to the relevant airline”.

“China shows deep sympathy to India as the country struggles with rampant COVID-19 and China expresses its sincere condolences to the Indian people. We reiterate China’s willingness to help and support India as per its needs,” he said. ”Chinese companies have been led by the government to take actions. The first batch of oxygen concentrators have arrived in India. We would like to cooperate with India in multiple ways to provide assistance. We believe India will defeat the virus,” he said.

Asked how many oxygen concentrators have been sent to India, he said, “for specific numbers you may refer to websites of Chinese embassy and Consulates in India”.

China’s Ambassador to India Sun Weidong in a tweet on Wednesday said Chinese medical suppliers are working overtime on orders from India, “at least 25000 orders for oxygen concentrators in recent days. Cargo planes are under the plan for medical supplies. Chinese customs will facilitate the relevant process”.

Wu Zunyou, a chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention told the media here, the ‘Indian strain’ of the coronavirus has been detected in some Chinese cities.

The surge in COVID-19 cases in some Asian countries has again sounded the alarm that the prevention and control of COVID-19 are far from over, which, instead, is difficult, complex, recurrent and long-term, Wu said, the state-run CGTN-TV reported.

According to official media reports, about 11 Chinese crew members of a cargo ship tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from India.

Wu also pointed out that the mutation of the novel coronavirus has been occurring since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will not stop as long as the pandemic continues. But the transmission of different virus variants can be stopped, Wu said.

”Implementing containment measures is crucial both to stop the spread of the mutant strains and to prevent the occurrence of new mutations,” he said.

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