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Li to attend ASEAN+3 COVID-19 talks

By MO JINGXI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-04-14 07:15
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Premier Li Keqiang will attend a special Asian leaders' meeting on COVID-19 via videoconference on Tuesday in Beijing in the country's latest effort to promote regional cooperation amid the pandemic.

"China expects the meeting to achieve positive results in such areas as strengthening pandemic prevention cooperation, stepping up public health cooperation in East Asia, boosting pragmatic cooperation and business exchanges and pushing forward regional economic integration," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday.

The special meeting of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, also known as 10+3, will be chaired by Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong, whose country holds this year's rotating ASEAN chairmanship.

"It is another important meeting on jointly addressing the pandemic in East Asia after the Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit on COVID-19. It reflects the regional countries' determination and willingness to combat the virus and maintain regional economic development," Zhao said at a regular news conference in Beijing.

As neighbors, China, Japan, the ROK and ASEAN countries have been supporting each other amid the outbreak, Zhao said.

As early as Feb 3, senior health officials and experts from the 13 countries as well as representatives of the World Health Organization and the ASEAN Secretariat had held a videoconference on COVID-19. China and ASEAN countries also pledged to pull together to overcome difficulties at a special foreign ministers' meeting on the outbreak in Vientiane, Laos, on Feb 20.

"As China made major progress in this period in fighting the virus, China has provided a group of pandemic prevention materials to ASEAN countries, sent medical expert teams and assisted ASEAN countries in purchasing anti-pandemic supplies in the country," Zhao said. "We hope the ASEAN countries win the battle against the novel coronavirus at an early date."

China has sent medical experts to four ASEAN countries- Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Myanmar.

Da Zhigang, a researcher of Northeast Asian studies at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said the meeting convened at a time when China, Japan and the ROK have shown varying degrees of success in curbing the outbreak, and that will help ASEAN countries nip the pandemic in the bud.

"Through joint efforts in combating the virus, 10+3 cooperation, which focuses on trade and economy, will be further deepened through nontraditional security cooperation such as coping with a global public health emergency," he said.

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