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China ‘ready’ to include ASEAN in $2B COVID-19 aid

Chinese president committed to providing aid to support nations affected by virus

Pizaro Gozali Idrus   | 29.05.2020
China ‘ready’ to include ASEAN in $2B COVID-19 aid

JAKARTA

China on Friday said it is ready to expand its assistance to Southeast Asian countries amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Deng Xijun, Chinese ambassador to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said President Xi Jinping has committed to providing international aid over a two year period to support nations affected by the pandemic, including the southeastern region.

"ASEAN countries can benefit from this fund," Deng said in a virtual panel in Jakarta.

He said both sides need to strengthen cooperation and coordination in handling the pandemic situation as China already has a strong relationship with ASEAN.

Deng said China was ready to provide training to health professionals in Southeast Asia to help them treat patients infected by the deadly virus, which was first originated in the country’s central city of Wuhan.

He noted that Beijing will share with ASEAN countries its experience of fight against COVID-19.

"We need to strengthen multilateralism in global public health," Deng added.

He also pledged that China would not monopolize COVID-19 vaccine when it is developed.

In a speech delivered at the 73rd World Health Assembly earlier this month, Xi unveiled a range of measures that China will adopt in order to deal with the COVID-19 on a global scale, including $2 billion international aid, coordination with the UN to establish a global humanitarian crisis response hub in China and provision of any vaccine as a global public good.

In April, the health ministers of ASEAN, Japan, China, and South Korea issued a joint statement, declaring their commitment to sharing technical, material, and financial support that are critical in sustaining strained national health systems.

The death toll from the coronavirus in the Southeast Asia region climbed to 2,620, while the number of cases surpassed 84,000, according to a running tally by the U.S’ Johns Hopkins University.

Singapore remains the country with the highest infections in Southeast Asia with 33,249 cases and 23 fatalities.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency's Indonesian language services in Jakarta.

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