China reaches out to help Brunei, Japan, Myanmar, Singapore and Fiji fight virus
Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo (1st L) and Fiji's Minister for Health and Medical Services Ifereimi Waqainabete (2nd L) watch the demonstration of wearing face mask at the handover ceremony of the medical supplies donated by China in Suva, Fiji, May 4, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]
Singapore has received 620,000 face masks donated by the Chinese government and the Red Cross Society of China to help the city-state in the fight against COVID-19. By Sunday there had been 22,460 cases in Singapore, the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia.
"As the pandemic continues to threaten lives and livelihoods around the world, international cooperation is crucial in surmounting this common foe," said Lam Pin Min, Singapore's senior minister of state of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport.
"I am heartened that Singapore and China have been working closely together at all levels to stem the spread of the virus."
Such robust collaboration during this difficult time is testament to the strong friendship between the two countries, she said.
Also last week, China donated about 270,000 Fijian dollars ($120,000) in medical supplies to Fiji. The donation came after an earlier donation of $300,000 to Fiji from China.
Fiji's Minister for Health and Medical Services, Ifereimi Waqainabete, said the donation will strengthen Fiji's fight against the virus and enhance the strong development partnership with China.
"This pandemic will only make us stronger and also grant us the ability to share expertise between Fiji and China," Waqainabete said.
The Chinese government has pledged $1.9 million in cash and medical supplies to Fiji and other Pacific Island countries to fight the pandemic, the Chinese embassy in Suva said.
In Japan, the nationwide state of emergency has been extended until the end of this month because of continuing new infections. By April 28 the Chinese government, friendship organizations and companies had donated tens of millions of pieces of medical equipment, including masks and protective gear, as well as testing equipment and kits, the Chinese embassy in Tokyo said.
Japan's Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Gaku Hashimoto, said early last month that China had provided important support to Japan in preventing and controlling COVID-19, such as sharing anti-pandemic expertise and large provisions of medical supplies.
Infectious disease, Hashimoto said, is a worldwide challenge that needs to be dealt with by all countries in solidarity with one another.
Last week a new batch of donations, including medical equipment, reagents and consumables, was donated to a newly built military hospital laboratory in Myanmar set up with the help of a Chinese medical team, Xinhua News Agency said.
Khin Ma Ma Myo, professor of international relations at the University of Yangon, said the medical supplies and a medical team China had sent to Myanmar were vital to the country.
Collaboration between Myanmar and China on COVID-19 "brought about positive implications" that will strengthen closer bilateral relations, Khin Ma Ma Myo said, adding that both countries can work together once the pandemic is over by promoting border trade and human resource development in public healthcare, traditional medicine and medical research. She said she hopes to see the return of investment by Chinese small-and-medium sized companies and the restarting of Chinese-backed factories in Myanmar.
Chinese companies and nonprofit organizations are also working to support other countries to contain the pandemic.
In a signed article published on April 29, China's Ambassador to Brunei, Yu Hong, said figures showed that donations from Chinese companies to Brunei had totaled more than $1.3 million.
BGI, a Chinese genome-sequencing company, provided technical support to Brunei in setting up a virology laboratory, in addition to testing kits sent in January.
Yu Wanying, senior researcher at Sungkyun Institute of China Studies at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, said the "assistance from China to the international community showcased the virtue to repay goodwill with greater kindness and the country's responsibility".