BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday offered additional assistance to India in battling the coronavirus outbreak ravaging the country, putting aside a simmering rivalry and tensions along their disputed border.
State media reported that Xi told Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a personal message of condolence Friday that he was “very concerned about the recent situation” in India with the COVID-19 outbreak.
He said China is willing to provide additional support and assistance because “Mankind is a community of common destiny sharing weal and woe and only through unity and cooperation can the nations of the world ultimately overcome the pandemic.”
“Under the leadership of the Indian government, the people of India will certainly overcome the pandemic,” Xi added.
India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jayashankar had a phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and they agreed to keep transport corridors and cargo flights open, an Indian statement said.
Wang said China would ensure that all the required materials flow to Indian entities without any delay, the statement said.
Chinese media said a first batch of 25,000 oxygen concentrators pledged to India has arrived in the country. The reports said China has already shipped 5,000 ventilators and 21,000 oxygen generators.
Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the Chinese public, the Chinese Red Cross, local governments, NGOs and enterprises have all “taken actions and managed to raise much-needed anti-epidemic supplies for the Indian side and send them to the Indian people as soon as possible.”
Along with the ventilators and oxygen concentrators, more than 15,000 sets of monitors and nearly 3,800 tons of medical supplies and medications have been shipped to India, Wang said.
Chinese manufactures of anti-epidemic materials and medical equipment are “working at full capacity to speed up production,” Wang said.
The assistance comes despite an intense economic rivalry between the countries, Beijing’s distrust of closer India-U.S. ties, and ongoing border tensions following a bloody clash last year in the Ladakh region.
Wang also said Chinese airlines are operating cargo flights to India and authorities are accelerating customs clearance and transport for supplies such as liquid oxygen storage tanks and oxygen generators from several Chinese cities.
“China will continue to maintain smooth export channels for materials to India,” Wang said.