The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that accusations made by some media outlets that China has done little to provide anti-epidemic support to Pacific island countries are totally groundless and made out of ulterior motives. The ministry said that cooperation between the two sides has become even closer since the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The reopening of the Chinese embassies in Kiribati and Solomon Islands in May and September 2020, respectively, are strong evidence that China attaches great importance to developing relations with the Pacific island countries,” said Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, at a press conference on Monday.

Hua was responding to reports that China has reduced its diplomatic presence in the Pacific island countries and asked some developers of projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to return home in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese diplomats in Pacific island countries have stuck to China’s diplomatic principle?of working for the people, providing quality services to Chinese citizens in these countries and working hard to advance normal exchanges and cooperation within the framework of the BRI.

To support the Pacific island countries in fighting the epidemic, in March last year, China held a video meeting with health experts from 10 Pacific island countries with which it has diplomatic ties to share experiences in epidemic prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment. China has set up the Joint COVID-19 Response Fund and made three additional capital injections, she said.

“The central government of China, the local government of Guangdong Province, and other parties, as well as enterprises and non-governmental organizations, have donated a large volume of epidemic prevention materials to the Pacific island countries,” she said.

According to statistics, Chinese?people have donated more than 1 million masks, more than 100,000 protective suits and 23,000 protective face masks and eye masks to Pacific island countries, playing an important role in response to the epidemic.

Hua said that China will actively consider providing COVID-19 vaccines to Pacific island countries in various ways in light of their actual needs, to make China’s contributions to ensuring the accessibility and affordability of vaccines to the countries.

“In 2021, China will continue to uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, working with Pacific island countries to fight the epidemic and overcome the difficulties, further deepen the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, and bring more benefits to the people of both sides,” she said.

Global Times