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‘Covid-19 knows no borders’: China calls for solidarity not `finger-pointing’

China said Tuesday this is a time for solidarity and cooperation, not “finger-pointing” and “politicization,” as its top diplomats in New York officially handed over a donation of medical supplies to hard-hit New York City to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Consul-General Huang Ping recalled at the online ceremony that China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump “called for anti-epidemic cooperation between our two nations and the world” in their last phone call on March 17.

“As the two biggest economies in the world, China and the United States need to lead the effort to fighting the coronavirus,” Huang said. “This is not the time for finger-pointing. This is the time for solidarity, collaboration, cooperation and mutual support.”

But after weeks of elaborate praise of president Xi’s performance in the pandemic, Trump has turned to blaming China and halting US contributions to the World Health Organization, accusing it of parroting misinformation from Beijing.

China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun stressed the importance of multilateralism, saying “we live in one world” and Covid-19 “knows no borders.”

“We need to support the United Nations and the WHO in playing a leading and coordinating role in defeating Covid-19, the common enemy of all mankind,” he said. “We should stand firm against the politicization of the pandemic and remove all obstacles which hinder our cooperation.”’

Huang said the American people helped China “without hesitation” when it was in great difficulty, and its consulate and UN mission have donated 25,000 N95 masks, 2,000 protective suits, and 75,000 pairs of medical gloves, which reached New York last weekend.

According to incomplete estimates, Huang said, China has also donated a total of 1,000 ventilators, 6,550,000 masks, 310,000 pairs of surgical gloves, 150,000 goggles and 32,000 protective suits to the United States, much of it to New York showing  solidarity.

Penny Abeywardena, New York City’s commissioner for international affairs, thanked China for its “extremely generous donation,” saying “it is what our health care workers need and we are absolutely grateful that you are in this fight with us.” She said the latest donation is already going to health care personel.

She also referred to attacks on Chinese-Americans as a result of Covid-19 originating in China, saying New York City “will not tolerate any harassment or discrimination against your community.”

Both the consul-general and UN ambassador expressed hope that the supplies will help New York win the fight against the pandemic.

Zhang said he wanted to stress that living in New York “we share its joy, we share its pain,” and every evening at 7 pm EDT he and his wife go out on their balcony and join their neighbours in clapping to support the city’s essential workers.

“I sincerely hope that, with the unity of all New Yorkers, we will defeat the pandemic and bring New York back to a dynamic and colorful life,” the UN ambassador said.

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