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Russian president backs China's Silk Road proposal
By ZHANG YUNBI ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-09 04:53:13

Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced support for China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, which is aimed at reviving the ancient Eurasian trading route.

Putin told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the Kremlin on Tuesday that Moscow supports the initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping, and "steadfastly supports China's efforts in championing core interests".

An official release issued after an earlier meeting between Wang and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov said both countries are ready to "proactively explore" cooperation on the Silk Road plan and Russia's idea of creating a "passage" between Asia and Europe and integrating Eurasian economies.

Countries including Russia and Central Asian nations have shown increasing interest in the Silk Road Economic Belt, proposed by Xi in 2013.

Xing Guangcheng, a senior scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the consensus on Tuesday indicates the two countries are "taking a tangible step forward".

They are shifting from preliminary supportive language for each other to joint efforts in initiating working-level liaison on the two concepts, Xing said.

In late March, the State Council authorized a landmark document — "Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road—to be issued, outlining the blueprints.

At his meeting with Putin, Wang suggested "docking" the Chinese and Russian initiatives "in order to tackle new changes in the international and regional situation".

Wang told a joint news conference that Russia's "look East" policy and China's accelerated westward openings "have created historic opportunities for docking the two countries' development strategies".

Li Hui, China's ambassador to Russia, said in a speech to university students in Moscow in February that "the Belt and Road" could meet bilateral cooperation programs halfway, such as Sino-Russian oil and gas pipelines and China's participation in the development of Russia's Far East.

Yang Cheng, deputy director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University, said the bilateral readiness on "docking" shows that Russia has a deeper understanding of the strategic benefit to come.

Putin also said he expects that Xi will visit Moscow in May for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II.

Wang, who laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow's Red Square earlier in the day, said

the 70th anniversary of victory in WWII is an opportunity to strengthen coordination on international affairs and to uphold mutual interests.

Both countries agreed after the foreign ministers' discussions that they "have both the duty and obligation to support each other" when they host the commemorations jointly or separately, in order to remember history, inspire following generations and better ensure world peace.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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China donates fund, medical materials to help Nigeria's economic hub combat COVID-19
LAGOS, April 17 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday handed over 91,000 U.S. dollars and protective medical supplies to the government of Lagos, Nigeria's economic hub to help the state to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Lagos in partnership with the Overseas Chinese Association in Nigeria donated 12,000 face masks, 100 protective clothing, 2,000 forehead thermometers, 2,000 surgical gloves, 1,550 hand sanitizers, and one ventilator.

The bank draft and medical supplies were handed over to the state commissioner for transportation, Fedrick Oladehinde.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has become a global challenge. The Chinese government and people will continue to stand and work with Nigeria and Lagos state in fight against the disease," Zhou Jun, president of the Association of Chinese Women in Nigeria said in a speech during the donation ceremony.

In his response, Oladehinde thanked the Chinese government and firms, saying the donation will help the government's efforts in fighting the spread of the viral disease.

The official added that the medical supplies will be distributed to medical workers that are at the forefront of fighting against the pandemic. Enditem

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Interview: COVID-19 fight compels "common destiny" among nations, says Robert Kuhn
WASHINGTON, March 21 (Xinhua) -- It has never been "so critical" that the nations of the world act "for the common good of humanity" as COVID-19 continues to spread, renowned American public intellectual Robert Kuhn said.

"There has never been a time when international cooperation is needed more urgently than it is right now -- both to battle and contain the COVID-19 pandemic and to sustain and bolster the world economy," Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, said in a recent email interview with Xinhua.

"If climate change is the world's most serious chronic problem, then COVID-19 is the world's most serious acute problem. I never imagined that dealing with a real pandemic would ever become so grave so quickly," he said.

"And frankly, I never took it all that seriously," he said. "But the pandemic has burst into planetary consciousness, and dramatically demonstrates the global critical significance of 'shared future' thinking," said Kuhn, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping's vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Kuhn said stemming the spread of "pandemics" or disease falls under a vision of a "shared future," as do climate control, preventing terrorism, thwarting the spread of drugs and organized crime, and promoting scientific research.

Noting China has sent "battle tested" medical teams to countries currently under siege, Kuhn said, "China begins to bear the world's experts with contemporary, real-world experience in containing the novel coronavirus."

China's experience in containing the contagion has contributed significantly to the world's efforts to stop the pandemic and return to normal ways of life, he said.

"In so many ways, the nations of the world must act for the common good of humanity, especially in wake of the growing pandemic, and it behooves people of goodwill everywhere to work to transform the rhetoric into reality," Kuhn said.

"'Shared future' is an evocative phase, offering a much-needed new way of thinking for the world, conveying a great hope," he said. "In light of the global pandemic, the global community must take collective ownership of the grand vision."

"The vision is vital for our turbulent times. All nations should recognize humanity's common destiny so that together we can build a bright future," he said.

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Chinese consulate, companies donate medical supplies to help U.S. community fight COVID-19
SAN FRANCISCO, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Consulate here as well as Chinese companies in the United States donated personal protective equipment to the local community on Tuesday to help its fight against COVID-19.

"The coronavirus does not respect any border or race. It is our common enemy, the only way to defeat the virus is for all of us to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation," Chinese Consul General to San Francisco Wang Donghua said at the donation ceremony in Redwood City, the San Mateo County seat.

A total of 175 protective clothes, 1,600 N95 masks and 3,000 other medical masks were delivered at the ceremony.

"As the virus is still accelerating its spread in the United States, many medical supplies are badly needed. This is only part of our donations to this area," Wang said, adding that "we are trying to bring more donations so that the people here would be in a better place to fight the virus."

"I think the experiences we have gained during the combat against the coronavirus could also be helpful, and we are ready to share them with the people in the United States," he added.

David Burruto, chief of staff at the office of the county's Supervisor Dave Pine, expressed his gratitude, saying that the donation is crucial to keep frontline health care workers safe and to help defeat the virus and get back to normal.

"When America needs help, we are all here together to help. That's how we establish relations and friendship," said Jojo Zou, principal China advisor to San Mateo County Trade Office.

"This just shows if we come together, we can give hope to everybody, and we can defeat the virus," said Wayne Lee, a council member of Millbrae, a city located in northern San Mateo County.

San Mateo County is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is part of Silicon Valley, a global center for high-tech and innovation.

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Interview: Chinese experience can help Canada deal with COVID-19: official
OTTAWA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- China's successful experience in containing COVID-19 may help the Canadian government beat the coronavirus in its country, a Canadian official said.

"I think Canada is coming into the virus somewhere China has been. And we are just learning in part to deal with it from the experience China did," Al Richmond, chair of Cariboo Regional District in British Columbia province, told Xinhua in an interview.

"China was ultimately, I think, successful in containing the virus. So I think our medical people and our government are using the experience in China as part of our approach to deal with the virus," said Richmond.

"The folks that I know in China, my friends, are more accepting government's recommendation to stay home, which our government is telling people (to do) if you are ill. Stay home, avoid large groups of people, these help stop the virus. I think those are the passive things we can do to contribute to the well-being of our community," said Richmond.

COVID-19 is a present menace in Canada. As of Thursday, at least 93 cases of COVID-19 and one death were reported in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now stays in self-isolation after his wife Sophie tested positive for the disease on Thursday night. He called on Canadians Friday noon to avoid all non-essential international travel due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, and the House of Commons has voted to shut down for at least five weeks to limit COVID-19 spread.

The virus has led people to stock up goods from face masks, hand sanitizer to toilet paper, almost clearing up the shelves of local retailers like Costco.

"People are uncertain. They need something to do to feel secure. But I think it's overreaction," said Richmond.

Meanwhile, as the government of Canada said its public health system was prepared to respond, Richmond insisted that it would depend on how and to what extent people managed themselves.

"I don't think we can all (stay) in the hospital. We don't have that many beds for everyone. It will certainly challenge the system. But I convinced the government to announce its measures for more testing, (and) we are doing more testing which makes us more aware of where the viruses are," he added.

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New Egypt-China venture contributes to Egypt's fight against COVID-19 by easing shortage of face masks
Workers produce masks at a factory in the free industrial zone of Cairo, capital of Egypt, April 14, 2020. Inside a joint Egypt-China plant inaugurated last week in the free industrial zone of Cairo, people are working day and night to run five advanced machines introduced from China to produce up to 750,000 medical face masks per day. (Xinhua/Wu Huiwo)
Ethiopia welcomes Chinese anti-pandemic medical team
ADDIS ABABA, April 18 (Xinhua) -- As the Chinese medical experts joined their Ethiopian counterparts in the fight against COVID-19 on Thursday, Ethiopians across different walks of lives are commending the move as a great demonstration of solidarity to deal with the COVID-19 response in Ethiopia.

The Chinese anti-pandemic medical expert team with 12 members specializing in various public health sectors arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday afternoon as part of the China's continuing solidarity in assisting the East African country on the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is a precious gesture of brotherhood and togetherness demonstrated by the Chinese government in general and the twelve medical professionals in particular," Mahlet Dinku, a 27-years-old Ethiopian medical science student, told Xinhua on Saturday.

Dinku also emphasized the "selfless deed and sacrifice exhibited by the Chinese anti-pandemic medical experts' team "to come all the way from China to Ethiopia to help us cope with the COVID-19 outbreak."

She further underscored the crucial timing of the latest Chinese assistance, as she underscored that "we sincerely welcomed them as they arrived here while we as a nation are bracing for practically the most difficult time of our recent history."

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across Ethiopia and beyond the African continent, the Chinese anti-pandemic medical experts' team was dispatched by the Chinese government upon the request of the Ethiopian government. The team will be working in Ethiopia for 15 days as planned.

Public health and economic analysis are currently voicing their concern regarding the lack of first-hand experience in COVID-19 response. In this regard, the Chinese medical experts emphasized their resolve to apply their well-articulated experience to support the East African country's fight against COVID-19.

Noting that Ethiopia and other fellow African countries are now experiencing a rising rate of COVID-19, Zeng Zhiyong, a member of the Chinese medical experts' team and a chief physician specialized on infection-control, stressed that "now is the moment to effectively contend the spread of the virus before its further spread."

"The team members will spare no efforts in fulfilling their mission by way of in-depth exchanges of close to three-months experiences with Ethiopian experts and officials," said Zeng, who is also the head of infection-control department at West China Hospital Sichuan University.

The healthcare professionals are also expected to provide advice on prevention and control of COVID-19 with local hospitals. The team also arrived in Ethiopia carrying urgently needed medical supplies including protective equipment, and traditional Chinese medicine that has been tested effective by clinical practice.

Ethiopian Ministers of Health, Lia Tadesse, after welcoming members of the Chinese medical team also emphasized the crucial role that the Chinese medical experts' team would play in Ethiopia's efforts to contend the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The highly trained experts and professionals who have been active in COVID-19 response in China and with frontline experience came here along with support from the Chinese government," Tadesse told Xinhua. Enditem

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Chinese vice premier holds phone talk with EU official over COVID-19, policy coordination
BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Liu He held a telephone conversation on Friday night with Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president of the European Commission.

During their phone talk, Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the Chinese side of the China-EU High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue, conducted constructive communication with Dombrovskis, head of the EU side of the dialogue, over ways to step up epidemic prevention and control cooperation, enhance macro-policy coordination and push forward the negotiations of the China-EU investment agreement.

China to offer Cyprus all possible help to combat COVID-19: FM
BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- China will provide all possible help within its capacity to Cyprus in the COVID-19 fight, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday in a phone conversation with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.
Noting that the China-Cyprus relationship has a solid political foundation, Wang said both countries have always been trusting and supporting each other.
When China was sparing no effort to fight the COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of this year, Cyprus stood together with China, Wang said, adding that China will never stand idly by when a friend is facing difficulties.
Although still facing prevention and control pressure to guard against both imported infections and domestic rebounds, China is willing to overcome difficulties to proactively provide as much help as possible for Cyprus, share experience in epidemic prevention and control without reservation, and assist Cyprus in purchasing medical resources from China, Wang said.
He said that the Chinese side stands ready to endeavor to ensure the health and safety of Cypriot diplomatic personnel and nationals in China, and expressed his belief that the Cypriot side would also protect the health, safety as well as legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals and students in Cyprus.
Wang pointed out that encountering the challenges posed by COVID-19, China, engaged in domestic prevention and control of the disease, extends a helping hand to other countries in need.
China's action is not only out of its sense of responsibility as a major country, but also out of the spirit of international humanitarianism, implementing the concept put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping of building a community with a shared future for mankind, he added.
Some words and deeds that distort the truth and smear China are narrow-minded, and will not be supported by the international community, he noted.
For his part, Christodoulides said that China has given firm support to Cyprus at the difficult moment in its fight against COVID-19, which the Cypriot side highly appreciates and always bears in mind.
China has successfully controlled the domestic spread of COVID-19, setting an example for the world in fighting against the pandemic, he said.
In the anti-virus fight, China has taken a highly responsible attitude towards humanity, stood on the side of morality, proactively provided help to other countries, and sent medical experts to share experience in prevention and control, thus contributing to the international anti-epidemic cooperation, he said.
The Cypriot side, actively committed to expanding Cyprus-China friendship, is ready to protect the health and safety of Chinese citizens in Cyprus, Christodoulides said. Enditem

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Latvia receives coronavirus test kits donated by China
RIGA, April 17 (Xinhua) -- A consignment of 20 novel coronavirus test kits donated by China was delivered to Latvia on Friday, according to the Chinese Embassy in Latvia.

The donation has been arranged by the Chinese Embassy, the Latvian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health as well as the Mammoth Foundation in Shenzhen.

The testing technology used in these BGI kits provides results within three hours. The kits for 1,000 tests were delivered to the Latvian capital of Riga and handed over to Riga Eastern University Hospital where COVID-19 patients are treated at the hospital's center for infectious diseases.

Receiving the Chinese donation, the hospital's chief laboratory specialist Dr. Sergejs Nikisins thanked the Mammoth Foundation and BGI Group, a world-leading genomics company headquartered in Shenzhen, China, for their friendly donations during this difficult time, emphasizing that this batch of test materials will play an important role in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic in Latvia.

By Friday noon, a total of 32,837 people in Latvia had been tested for the novel coronavirus, of which 682 tested positive. Five patients have so far died and 88 recovered.

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Interview: Indian expert says COVID-19 to reshape world
NEW DELHI, April 18 (Xinhua) -- An Indian expert said the COVID-19 pandemic will reshape multiple sectors, including global geopolitics, and exert long-running influences on the world.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Swaran Singh, professor at the School of International Studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, said state sovereignty has been reinforced in the short run.

With states sealing borders, invoking emergency legislations, and taking over private sectors, they are becoming far too overbearing and intrusive, while a stronger sense of shared destiny of humankind has also been unleashed, Singh said.

Once the pandemic is over, Singh believes countries will emerge stronger and promote far more deep-rooted and widespread connectivity and individual initiatives.

"This may not fundamentally change equations of major nations but will surely encourage better fine-tuning of mutual differences," said Singh, who is also chairman of JNU's Centre of International Politics, Organization and Disarmament.

He said major human tragedies -- wars, natural or manmade disasters, and pandemics -- have invariably encouraged outside-the-box thinking to redress challenges.

The post-COVID-19 international order will see technology-intensive connectivity, extensive summit diplomacy and strengthened global value chains, he said.

The COVID-19 crisis is also an opportunity for China and the United States to redress and reduce areas of conflict by building a relationship of mutual security and mutual benefit, the professor added. Enditem

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China sends more medical aid to Sri Lanka amid COVID-19 pandemic
COLOMBO, April 17 (Xinhua) -- A fresh batch of medical aid donated by China arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Friday evening, as the government of China and its people stood firmly with Sri Lanka in the country's battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chinese Embassy said in a statement that the donation included 20,000 test kits, 10,000 N-95 masks, 100,000 surgical masks, 10,000 protective clothing, 1,000 goggles and 50,000 surgical gloves which arrived onboard a Chinese Eastern Airline flight.

The embassy said the plane departed Shanghai with no passengers but full of medical supplies as well as love and solidarity from China to Sri Lanka.

While departing from Colombo, the embassy said 172 guests boarded the return flight to Shanghai.

The Chinese government has in recent weeks sent medical aid to Sri Lanka, which was distributed to the health workers who were in the front lines to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a recent statement on his official Twitter account, thanked the Chinese government for its continued assistance in the battle against the coronavirus and also appreciated the Chinese Eastern Airlines for flying the relief packages into the country. Enditem

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Commentary: Xi-Modi meeting charts course of steady China-India ties
CHENNAI, India, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held their second informal meeting on Friday and Saturday in the southern Indian city of Chennai, setting the tune for the future development of bilateral ties.
As major emerging economies and the only two countries in the world with a population of more than 1 billion, China and India boast great potential for cooperation.
With both sides facing new opportunities to fulfill their respective national goals to rejuvenate and the world undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, a healthy and stable bilateral relationship not only benefits both China and India, but also helps promote global stability and economic globalization.
Following the consensus reached by Xi and Modi during their first informal meeting in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year, China and India have boosted pragmatic cooperation in various fields, providing a solid foundation for sustained cooperation.
In a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in Chennai, the two leaders exchanged in-depth views on issues of global and regional importance.
Close cooperation between the two sides has achieved significant progress. China has long been India's largest trading partner, and India is China's largest trading partner in South Asia.
Bilateral trade has reached almost 100 billion U.S. dollars, and more than 1,000 Chinese companies have increased their presence in industrial parks and e-commerce in India, with a total investment of 8 billion dollars and 200,000 local jobs created.
As two ancient civilizations with thousands of years of history, China and India continue to move closer together. Yoga classes and watching Bollywood movies have become fashionable among Chinese youth. An increasing number of Indians are interested in Chinese acupuncture, cuisine and martial arts.
Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties. As both leaders emphasized in their meeting, the two governments must take the anniversary as an opportunity to conduct broader and deeper cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Beijing-New Delhi relations have now entered a new stage. The two sides should strengthen strategic communication and mutual trust in order to properly manage their differences and sensitive issues.
At their meeting in Chennai, Xi told Modi that realizing a scenario where the dragon and the elephant dance together is the right way forward for the two countries. It is also in the fundamental interest of the Chinese and India people. The world stands to benefit too.

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Xinhua Headlines: Freight trains connect China, Europe for stronger cooperation against COVID-19
BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- This week in the western German city of Duisburg, after the arrival of a China-Europe freight train from Wuhan, once the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, Chinese diplomats and local officials posed for a group photo while maintaining a safe distance from each other.

The train, which was loaded with medical supplies, auto parts, electronic products, and optical communication fibers, among others, was a stellar example of how China and Europe can stand together in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges posed by the contagious disease.

Around the time the train arrived in Germany, another two China-Europe freight trains, under the operation of China Railway Express, one departing from southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, the other setting out from the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu, also rumbled across the Eurasian continent and arrived in Europe.


Since it resumed intercontinental train service on March 28, Wuhan, the capital city of the central Chinese province of Hubei, has seen the departure of four freight trains, loaded with 195 containers of goods for Europe.

According to Wuhan Asia-Europe Logistics, the operator of the trains in Wuhan, their loading rate is above 98 percent, and the goods, including face masks, surgical gauze and first-aid kits, were transported and then distributed to Germany, France, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland.

Gao Ruorui with the Wuhan operator said 90 percent of medical goods carried by the freight trains from Wuhan were produced by enterprises in Hubei, which have gradually resumed business after a lockdown to stem the virus's spread.

"In order to help Europe's fight against the pandemic, we have kept the transport price flat as that in the same period of last year," said Gao. "We will increase the shipment frequency according to the international market's demand, and help keep the global industrial and supply chains stable."

Trains from other parts of China have also been running steadily, with increasing transport frequency and volume, helping sustain international trade and global supply chains in tough times.

On Sunday, the "China Post" train, launched from Chongqing, arrived in Lithuania, opening a new logistics channel between China and Europe. By Wednesday, a total of 107 China-Europe freight trains had departed from Yiwu this year, which boasts the world's leading small commodities market in east China's Zhejiang Province.

Statistics from China Railway Group Limited showed that the first quarter of 2020 saw 1,941 China-Europe freight trains traveling from or to China, carrying 174,000 TEU containers, which represented growth rates of 15 percent and 18 percent, respectively, year on year. In March alone, a total of 809 freight train trips were made, delivering 73,000 TEU of goods, both setting monthly high records.


On April 8, mobile cranes loaded containers onto a cargo train at Shenyang East Railway Station in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province. Along with regular cargoes including machinery and small commodities, the train, destined for Germany, was also loaded with 200,000 sets of medical protective suits.

"Due to the epidemic, air freight is now facing strict restrictions and road freight came to a halt" in efforts to curb the contagion risk, said He Ruofan, a manager with the Shenyang branch of China Railway Container Transport, the company in charge of the China-Europe freight train operation. "Under such circumstances, the freight train is now favored by many enterprises as the most economical means of international transportation."

Likewise, Juergen Friedrich, chairman and CEO at Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), said that demand for train services to Europe has recently increased, as airfreight and shipping services are restricted.

Also, when explaining the advantages of train services, Feng Xubin, chair of the freight operator Yiwu Tianmeng Industrial Investment Co. Ltd., said "China-Europe freight trains offer a closed and safe transport environment with low risk of virus transmission."

As analysts have said, the short transportation time is also a significant strength of the China Rail Express, especially under the current conditions where certain materials, especially medical equipment that is critical for saving lives, require rapid delivery.

What made this possible is China's efforts to extend a helping hand and to restore and raise the production capacity of medical and anti-epidemic supplies.

Carlos Santana, who is responsible for the company which operates the Yiwu-Madrid line in Spain, told Xinhua that return to work in China and the increase in industrial activity have made it easier for the materials needed to fight the pandemic to arrive in a safe and rapid manner.

Train transport between China and Spain is a reliable alternative means of transport that is cheaper than shipping by air, and faster than cargo vessels, Santana added.


During the welcome ceremony of the train from Wuhan in Duisburg, Transport Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wuest said that as people in Germany are also suffering from COVID-19, a steady restoration of normalcy is needed.

Therefore, the supplies transported from China by rail, especially medical ones, are of great significance, he added.

For Erich Staake, chief executive officer of Duisburger Hafen AG (duisport), the China-Europe freight train has also helped to further promote cooperation in the logistics field and promote the economic development of both sides.

Meanwhile, in a letter to Chinese Ambassador to Lithuania Shen Zhifei, the Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Jaroslav Narkevic wrote that the train of a new postal rail service to Europe will bring new impetus for the further strengthening of a versatile partnership between the two countries.

"With this new route, especially during a difficult pandemic period, we are turning a new page towards closer cooperation to meet consumer expectations," wrote the minister.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the China-Europe freight service, as an important component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has long been promoting global inter-connectivity, a function that industry insiders predict will continue.

The interest of German companies, first and foremost from Duisburg, in the railroad transport between China and Germany will also continue after the coronavirus crisis, and enhancing transport routes will remain an important topic in the future, Friedrich said.

China's engagement in the BRI will also induce the development of additional infrastructure initiatives on the part of other countries and regions in the future, which will additionally contribute to enhanced connectivity between China and Germany, he added.

(Xinhua reporters Li Shengjiang, Zhai Wei in Brussels, Yan Feng, Zhang Yuan in Berlin, Feng Junwei in Madrid, Guo Mingfang in Vilnius, Zhang Zhang, Chen Xu in Warsaw, Le Wenwan in Wuhan, Yin Xiaosheng in Hangzhou, Zhao Yufei in Chongqing, Xu Yang, Ding Feibai, Wu Ziyu in Shenyang also contributed to the story.)
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President vows firm support for Russia
China will continue to extend firm support to Russia in its efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitate the country's procurement of medical supplies from China, President Xi Jinping said in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday night.
In the conversation, Xi called for joint efforts by the two sides to safeguard global public health security, saying that any action that politicizes and labels the pandemic will not benefit international cooperation.
Xi said the fact that he and Putin had spoken on the phone twice within a month on furthering exchanges and coordination on epidemic containment cooperation is an indication of the high level of bilateral relations.
He commended the series of forceful containment measures rolled out by Russia, under Putin's leadership, saying that he believes Russia will definitely be able to curb the spread of the pandemic, protect the health and safety of its people and restore its social and economic development.
China will always bear in mind the precious help from Russia during its most difficult time of epidemic containment, he added.
The group of medical experts sent by the Chinese government is now working in a proactive manner in Moscow and sharing with their Russian counterparts China's experience in fighting the pandemic, and China has already sent aid to Russia, he noted.
Xi also expressed his appreciation to Russia for helping Chinese citizens in the country, adding that it is his belief that Russia will continue to safeguard the normal work and life of Chinese citizens in Russia.
He noted that bilateral trade has increased by 3.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, and this is a hard-won result as the global economy is in a downturn.
The two countries should explore new ways of cooperation that are more flexible and diversified with normalized epidemic containment measures in place and continuously move forward their bilateral cooperation, he said.
He also expressed his belief that bilateral strategic coordination will become even more resilient and stronger and the friendship between the two peoples will be more enduring after the test from the pandemic.
Putin said Russia and China have always been united in actions and cooperated with each other since the pandemic broke out, which shows the high level of bilateral relations.
The practice by some people of smearing China over the source of the virus is unacceptable, he said, adding that Russia will continue to step up cooperation and exchanges with China on fighting the pandemic.
The two leaders agreed to continue to maintain close contacts through various channels.
The epidemic situation is worsening in Russia as more than 27,000 confirmed infections have been reported in the country with over 230 deaths.
In another development, Premier Li Keqiang had telephone conversations with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of Sudan's interim government on Thursday on the COVID-19 outbreak.

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China and Zimbabwe have vowed to strengthen cooperation and join forces to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as it spreads on the African continent.

President Xi Jinping and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa reached the consensus during their recent exchange of congratulatory messages on the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations on Saturday.

Xi said that China and Zimbabwe have always adhered to mutual trust and mutual support over the past four decades and the relationship has withstood the test of time and the challenges of the international situation.

Noting that he and Mnangagwa have reached important consensuses on establishing and developing the China-Zimbabwe comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, Xi said he attaches great importance to bilateral ties and will work with his Zimbabwean counterpart to take the 40th anniversary as an opportunity to further advance bilateral ties.

Xi suggested that the two sides jointly promote the development of the Belt and Road, the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the realization of Zimbabwe's "Vision 2030", expand practical cooperation in various fields, and offer each other stronger support on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns.

Mnangagwa said that the past 40 years have demonstrated that sincerity, solidarity, mutual benefit and mutual trust are the prominent features of the brotherly friendship and high-level relationship between the two countries.

Zimbabwe steadfastly adheres to the one-China policy and wishes to see further Belt and Road cooperation, he said, adding that Zimbabwe will continue to resolutely push for the deeper development of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

In face of the grave challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zimbabwe is willing to strengthen solidarity and mutual support with China and jointly cope with the effects of the disease on bilateral cooperation, he said.

A total of 20,270 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in 52 African countries with 1,025 deaths as of Friday, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

China has been closely following the development of the epidemic situation in Africa and has provided various kinds of medical assistance including testing reagents and protective equipment to 53 African countries as of April 12.
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Russian party member hails efforts by the CPC
Russia highly values the call by the Communist Party of China for resolute and forceful measures to be taken to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting each other and pooling global resources, said Andrey Klimov, first secretary of the general council of Russia's United Russia party.

The International Department of the CPC Central Committee said a joint open letter initiated by the CPC was endorsed by more than 230 political parties of various political colors in more than 100 countries.

The pandemic poses "the most urgent and serious challenge" to human health and world peace and development, and countries should strengthen cooperation to fight it, the letter said.

Klimov, who is also the deputy chairman of the Russian Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in an exclusive interview with China Daily that China has made great strides in battling COVID-19, gaining time and providing expertise to others.

"Thanks to the work by the Chinese government and medical personnel, the number of infections in the country has fallen rapidly," Klimov said.

The CPC's call to enhance international collaboration is the first appeal from the main political parties around the world since the epidemic broke out, Klimov said.

United Russia, the largest party in Russia, totally stood with the appeal by the CPC and agreed that the epidemic is a joint challenge to the global health system. All countries should give priority to protecting people's health, implement effective measures to prevent the coronavirus spreading, strengthen international collaboration and build the community of common health for all mankind, he added.

The CPC stressed the need for science-based and professional discussions of issues such as the origin of the virus, and criticized the politicization of public health issues and the stigmatization of countries amid the pandemic.

United Russia received the joint letter, which was signed by representatives of more than 200 political parties in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Oceania, on April 2.

"We took the letter seriously because this is an appeal from our Chinese comrades, our political partners, and good neighbor," Klimov said.

Under the leadership of the CPC, Chinese people have followed strict measures their government has adopted since the outbreak began, which perfectly demonstrates the role of China as a great and responsible power in the international arena, he said.

"Chinese scientists, doctors, medical workers, as well as central government and local authorities managed to take control of the coronavirus as much as possible within three months. Thus we all think if the world is able to do what China did, and takes the problem and its international obligations very seriously, the pandemic may be eased soon."

The CPC has passed on its knowledge and expertise in fighting the epidemic to more than 400 political parties worldwide and has sent medical groups to many countries, Klimov said.

In January China gave Russia information about the genome of the novel coronavirus and methods of diagnosis and treatment, which had significantly reduced the number of deaths from the infection in Russia.

Klimov suggested the CPC and United Russia bring together researchers from both countries to study the virus and to test reagents, vaccines and medicines.

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RIYADH, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Health ministers of the Group 20 (G20) reviewed on Sunday the importance of utilizing digital solutions in current and future pandemics.

During a virtual meeting, the officials discussed further coordinate efforts in combating COVID-19 and the role of digital solutions, a statement by the G20 Saudi Presidency highlighted.

The ministers stressed that people's health and well-being are at the heart of all decisions taken to protect lives and alleviate the socio-economic impacts resulting from the virus.

They also shared experiences and preventative measures to contain the pandemic. The officials recognized that the virus revealed the systemic weaknesses in health systems, and the vulnerabilities in the global community's ability to prevent and respond to pandemic threats.

G20 health ministers will take further actions that may be required to contain the pandemic and will reconvene again as necessary, the statement added.

Chinese retail giant Suning to donate 1.3 mln masks to Italy, Slovenia
NANJING, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese retail giant Suning Holdings Group said Thursday that its subsidiaries Suning International and Inter Milan Football Club will donate masks to help Italy and Slovenia fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 1 million face masks will be donated to Italy, and 300,000 masks to Slovenia, according to the group.

Suning International donated 300,000 face masks and other protective gear to Italy last month.

Suning International has collaborated with the Italian Trade Agency in introducing Italian brands and products to the Chinese market. The company has also partnered with Slovenian home appliance giant Gorenje.

Inter Milan donated 100,000 euros to the L. Sacco Hospital in Milan in early March. It has also raised 658,000 euros from fans, club members and foundation, which will be donated to the hospital for vaccine research, the group said.

"During this period of fighting pandemic globally, we hope Chinese experience can help Italy and Slovenia contain the spread of the virus as soon as possible," said Steven Zhang, president of Suning International and chairman of Inter Milan.

He said Suning International will continue to rely on its global supply chain to increase assistance to the two countries, and contribute to the global fight against the pandemic. Enditem

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Interview: Egypt's tourism industry stopped totally due to coronavirus pandemic: minister
CAIRO, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Revenues of Egypt's tourism sector have totally stopped due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, said Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anany.
"Tourism stopped worldwide, not only in Egypt," the minister told Xinhua in a recent interview, adding that the government has taken measures to avoid a collapse of the industry.
Al-Anany noted that the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has instructed the government to take procedures to support the tourism sector and protect its employees who provide living for some one million Egyptian families.
"The president ordered that hotels and tourist establishments to be exempt from real-estate taxes for six months to enable them to pay salaries of employees," the minister said, adding that dues of these establishments would put off for three months.
According to a presidential decree, tourism sector will be offered 50 billion pounds at low interest rates in loans to avoid sacking employees.
Besides, the president also announced three-month grants for irregular and seasonal workers.
Egypt has so far confirmed 3,144 COVID-19 cases, including 239 deaths and 732 recoveries.
Tourism is Egypt's third largest source of national income as the sector's revenues jumped by 28 percent to about 12.2 billion U.S. dollars in the fiscal year 2018/2019.
However, the vital industry has been near collapse amid the spread of the coronavirus, which prompted the authorities to close airports, restaurants, malls, museums and archeological sites before imposing a night-time curfew.
For now, al-Anany said, the ministry is carrying out an all-out campaign to sterilize hotels and tourist establishments and to inspect the employees to make sure they are coronavirus free.
"We work to preserve the rights of workers in the tourism industry to ensure they will not be laid off," he added.
Meanwhile, al-Anany said that the ministry is also disinfecting and sanitizing museums and tourist sites nationwide over coronavirus concerns.
He noted that the ministry has started daily online virtual and guided video tours of a number of museums and archaeological sites around Egypt under the slogan of "Experience Egypt from Home! Stay Home! Stay Safe!".
"This initiative enables lovers of Egyptian antiquities to see our monuments live," the minister pointed put.
Speaking about the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), which was supposed to open by 2020, the minister said the project inauguration has been postponed to 2021 over coronavirus concerns.
"Works at the GEM are still ongoing," the minister said, noting that the ministry has to cut down the numbers of workers to ensure their safety.
Constructed on approximately 500,000 square meters, the mega museum is located nearby the Giza Pyramids. It is expected to be one of the largest museums in the world presenting a heritage of ancient civilization.
"As many as 1,300 workers and engineers are currently working at the museum...they all take the necessary preventive measures such as wearing mask and gloves as well as maintaining social distancing," Minister al-Anany revealed.
He said, there are crews that carry out restoration works, while other teams are transferring relics and antiquities into the museum.
"Work in the small halls has been suspended to avoid crowds," the minister stressed.
Regarding archaeological discoveries and excavations, the minister explained that some archaeological missions are still working so far, however, many foreign missions suspended their activities due to the crisis of the coronavirus.
"Our main goal is peoples' well-being, that is why so many activities that witness large congestions have been delayed," al-Anany said. Enditem
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Argentina receives new shipment of Chinese medical supplies for COVID-19 fight
BUENOS AIRES, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Argentina has received a 14-ton shipment of medical supplies from China to help combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, the office of the nation's president announced Monday.
The cargo arrived at the Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, two days after an initial flight had delivered 13 tons of medical equipment.
Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia and Transportation Minister Mario Meoni welcomed the plane, along with the head of the airline, Pablo Ceriani.
The shipment came from Shanghai, aboard an Airbus 330-200 whose cargo capacity had been increased by 84 percent.
Argentina and China set up the first ever air bridge between them over the weekend to supply the South American country with much-needed medical supplies amid the COVID-19 outbreak, including vital personal protective equipment for health care workers.
More deliveries are scheduled in the coming weeks.
"We are very happy about how the operation is unfolding, without delays. The Chinese government is making the whole operation very smooth for us," said Ceriani.
As of Monday morning, Argentina had 2,941 COVID-19 cases, including 136 deaths. Enditem

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