China, South Asian neighbours to build emergency supplies reserve


Pak among six nations agree to closely track virus variants

Observer Report

In a major step in the joint fight against Covid-19 and efforts to boost economic recovery, China and five of its South Asian neighbours have agreed to build an emergency supplies reserve.

China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh also agreed to establish a centre for cooperation on poverty reduction and development, as well as hold a forum on cooperation in e-commerce-driven poverty reduction in rural areas.

The agreements came at a video-conference bringing together the six nations’ foreign ministers to discuss how to further tackle the pandemic, according to local media reports.

The ministers met via video link at a time when South Asia is faced with another resurgence of Covid-19 infections amid growing concerns over a shortage of vaccines and medical supplies.

While chairing the meeting, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a four-point proposal, urging countries to enhance solidarity in the virus fight; deepen pragmatic anti-virus cooperation; promote post-pandemic recovery; and secure circumstances for enabling countries’ growth.

The other five foreign ministers voiced support for Wang’s proposal and thanked China for offering material and technical assistance to various countries fighting the virus.

They reiterated their countries’ support for the World Health Organization continuing to play an active role in global anti-epidemic cooperation, and they opposed politicising the pandemic. Vaccination disparities were also highlighted at the meeting.

The ministers said that vaccines should not be monopolised by a small number of countries, and vaccine distribution should be based on fairness.

The five neighbours hailed China’s efforts in boosting the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries.

When concluding the meeting, Wang said all the countries object to unilateralist bullying and interference in other nations’ internal affairs.

If power politics continues to prevail, developing countries and small and medium-sized nations “will first fall prey” to it, and ordinary people in various countries will suffer first, Wang warned, adding that China will stand up to support justice and boycott interference and moves that coerce countries to choose sides.

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