China defends COVID-19 response in new report

Xu Lin, vice head of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, holds a copy of the white paper about China's fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during a State Council Information Office (SCIO) briefing in Beijing, China June 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 June 2020

China defends COVID-19 response in new report

  • An Associated Press investigation found that government labs sat on releasing the genetic map of the virus for more than a week in January

BEIJING: Senior Chinese officials, releasing a lengthy report on the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, defended their government’s actions and said that China provided information in a timely and transparent manner.
National Health Commission Chairman Ma Xiaowei said Sunday that a recent news media report that the Chinese government didn’t initially share the genome sequence for the virus “seriously goes against the facts.”
An Associated Press investigation found that government labs sat on releasing the genetic map of the virus for more than a week in January, delaying its identification in a third country and the sharing of information needed to develop tests, drugs and a vaccine.
Ma did not address the specific findings in the AP report, but said there were many unknowns in the early stage of the outbreak and that it took time to gather evidence and figure out the characteristics of the new virus.
“The Chinese government did not delay or cover up anything,” he said. “Instead, we have immediately reported virus data and relevant information about the epidemic to the international community and made an important contribution to the prevention and control of the epidemic around the world.”
He ticked off a series of government actions from a detailed timeline in the government report, which ran to 66 pages in the English version.
The report lauded China’s success in reducing the daily increase in new cases to single digits within about two months and the “decisive victory ... in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan” in about three months.
Wuhan, where the first cases of the new virus were detected late last year, was the hardest hit part of China in the outbreak. The city and soon after much of Hubei province were locked down for more than two months to stop the spread of the virus to the rest of the country.


India says Indian, Chinese troops disengaging from standoff

Updated 11 July 2020

India says Indian, Chinese troops disengaging from standoff

  • Indian officials say a standoff between the two armies began in early May
  • The situation turned deadly when the rival troops engaged in hand-to-hand fighting in the Galwan Valley

NEW DELHI: India’s external affairs minister said Saturday that Indian and Chinese troops are disengaging from a monthslong standoff along the countries’ undemarcated border following a clash last month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s remarks came a day after China’s ambassador to India said that Indian and Chinese front-line troops are disengaging in accordance with an agreement reached by their military commanders.
“It’s very much a work in progress,” Jaishankar said, adding that both sides agreed on the need to disengage because troops are deployed very close to each other.
The Chinese ambassador, Sun Weidong, said Friday that the two countries should be partners rather than rivals and handle their differences properly to bring their ties back on the right track.
Indian officials say a standoff between the two armies began in early May when large contingents of Chinese soldiers entered deep inside Indian-controlled territory at three places in Ladakh.
The situation turned deadly when the rival troops engaged in hand-to-hand fighting in the Galwan Valley, where India is building a strategic road connecting the region to an airstrip close to China. India says that 20 of its soldiers were killed in the June 15 clash and that there were casualties on the Chinese side as well.
China hasn’t confirmed any casualties on its side.
Through video conferencing on Friday, senior foreign ministry officials from the two countries reviewed the progress made in the disengagement process by the two armies at the disputed border, known as the Line of Actual Control.
The disputed border covers about 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) of frontier and stretches from Ladakh in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim in the northeast.
India and China fought a border war in 1962 that also spilled into Ladakh. The two countries have been trying to settle their border dispute since the early 1990s, without success.