China sends donations to Pacific countries to support COVID-19 prevention and tropical cyclone relief

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/13 23:53:40

China has sent donations to Pacific countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the island countries are also suffering from tropical cyclones.

The Chinese government handed over 47 specialized military vehicles to Fiji recently, which will strengthen the two countries' defense relations, according to a report from the Media Centre of the Fiji Government on Friday.

"I am glad to learn that these vehicles will come in handy in Fiji's battle against COVID-19," Qian Bo, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, was quoted as saying by the report. "I firmly believe that China-Fiji defense cooperation will contribute to regional peace and stability, which is an integral part of China's grand commitment and great endeavor to build a community with a shared future for mankind."

The Fijian Minister for Defense, National Security and Foreign Affairs, Inia Seruiratu said that the new equipment will be fully utilized in times of emergency, including the country's efforts to contain COVID-19 and respond to Tropical Cyclone Harold.

As of Monday, Fiji reported 16 cases of COVID-19, according to the WHO.

The powerful Tropical Cyclone Harold hit Fiji on Wednesday after killing dozens in the Solomon Islands and destroying buildings in Vanuatu, Reuters reported. The UN on Sunday announced it was ready to support Pacific countries. China has also sent $1.9 million and medical supplies to Fiji and other Pacific countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Chinese embassy in Fiji announced the donation plan on its website on March 31. 

Chinese local governments, enterprises and friendship associations are also lending helping hands to the Pacific countries, the embassy said.

"At this hard time, China's supplies and experience in tackling COVID-19 are significant for these island countries, which are more vulnerable to emergencies and disasters," Yang Honglian, CEO of Chinese Media (Fiji) Limited, told the Global Times.

These donations show China's support to the island countries as always, he said.

Since March, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Health Commission as well as Chinese medical experts have been sharing experience and information in video conferences with government officials and medical specialists from 10 Pacific island countries - the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu - according to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

When China was severely hit by COVID-19, the Pacific island countries also lent their support to China. For instance, the Vanuatu government donated around $127,000 to China on February 7.


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