Tuesday, February 25, 2020

COVID-19, Western Slandering Won’t Dampen Pakistan Ties
By Li Qingqing
Global Times
2020/2/25 1:44:55

A health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar on February 18, 2020. (Photo by Saeed Ahmad/Xinhua)

The COVID-19 is spreading globally, and Pakistan is also facing the impact. Although no cases have been confirmed in Pakistan as of press time, the COVID-19 outbreak in Pakistan's neighboring country Iran is worsening, and Pakistan has closed its borders with Iran. China, as an all-weather strategic cooperative partner and a close friend of Pakistan, is willing to help the country get through the challenge. Such friendship cannot be broken by Western badmouthing.

Pakistan has helped a lot during China's fight against the COVID-19. For example, Pakistan overcame difficulties and donated hundreds of thousands of face masks and other protective supplies to China. Chinese people appreciate Pakistan's understanding and support.

Pakistan is also facing multiple challenges in 2020. In addition to the global spread of the COVID-19, Pakistan is experiencing its worst locust plague in 27 years. The locust disaster will destroy crops and may threaten Pakistan's food security. This being the case, China has the responsibility to help Pakistan weather the storm as this is in line with China's image as a major power.

In terms of the COVID-19, China can share its experience and lessons with Pakistan, exchange information with the country in a timely manner and provide testing kits.

As for the Pakistanis still in China, we have the obligation to pay close attention to their physical condition and be ready to help them. We should also share our experience in controlling locust plagues with Pakistan. According to media reports, China has already sent a specialized team to help.

China-Pakistan relations are of great significance and are reciprocal. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has developed rapidly, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of BRI, is essential to Pakistan. The BRI has brought positive changes to the Pakistani people's livelihood and has improved the country's connectivity, deepening Pakistan's ties with Southeast Asian and Central Asian countries.

In the complicated international situation, the interests of China and Pakistan are consistent.

However, some Western media are trying to take advantage of the epidemic and drive a wedge between China and Pakistan. The National Interest published an article on Saturday titled "How China Is Humiliating Pakistan," in which it said China "cares little for the Pakistanis" who remain within China. But this is distorting the truth.

The truth is Pakistan has announced that it will not evacuate its citizens from China. China has better medical facilities and is capable of treating patients. By February 12, four Pakistani students who were infected with the COVID-19 in China have fully recovered. Where is the evidence that China "cares little for the Pakistanis?"

China and Pakistan share mutual understanding, and people of the two countries will jointly overcome the COVID-19 epidemic. Some Western public opinion should stop provoking alienation between the two countries.

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