Putin Praises China’s Coronavirus Response in Phone Call with Xi Jinping

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping meet in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, on March 22, 2013. Xi Jinping arrived today in Moscow on his first foreign trip, to cement ties between the two countries by inking a raft of energy and investment accords. …
SERGEI KARPUKHIN/AFP/Getty Images

Russian leader Vladimir Putin praised China’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak as a success in a phone call Thursday evening with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping, according to official statements released by both Chinese and Russian state press agencies Thursday.

Putin praised Xi’s efforts to stop the spread of the Chinese coronavirus, which emerged in Wuhan, China, late last year. According to the Russian news agency TASS:

The coronavirus pandemic situation was discussed in detail, with emphasis on tight cooperation Russian and China have set up from the beginning [of the outbreak]. Russian side has praised the results, achieved by the Chinese government and the entire Chinese people, in countering of the spread of the disease. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping spoke in favor of further mutual assistance and deepening of cooperation in medical field and drug development.

Tass noted that “the leaders have also exchanged opinions on a number of other aspects of development of friendly Russian-Chinese relations.”

China’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on the phone call Thursday in which it claimed that “thanks to the painstaking efforts made so far, the situation in China is steadily turning for the better, with life and work returning to normal at a faster pace.”

The statement also said that during the phone conversation, “Putin commended the Chinese government for taking effective measures to not only contain the spread of the virus at home, but also contribute to safeguarding the health and safety of people across the world.”

China lauded itself as an “example” to other countries now fighting the Chinese coronavirus, for which it remains directly responsible for originating and spreading. Continuing to praise its efforts to fight its own coronavirus, the Ministry added, “By providing timely assistance to other countries affected by COVID-19 [Chinese Coronavirus], China has set an example for the international community and responded, loud and clear, to the provocation and stigmatization by some country [sic].”

China has responded loudly to criticism of its responsibility in spawning, spreading, and preventing the curtailment of the Chinese coronavirus. On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry expelled more than a dozen U.S. journalists from three American newspapers in response to the U.S. State Department’s placing caps on Chinese media in March.

The move came amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China during the past few months. The U.S. has continued to highlight the communist nation’s horrific human rights abuses against minority Muslims, support a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, and rightly point out China’s responsibility in starting the Chinese coronavirus pandemic that continues to ravage the world’s economy and public health.

The Chinese coronavirus has greatly contributed to this deterioration of relations between the U.S. and China. The Chinese reject any condemnation by the U.S. and others of China’s role in causing the pandemic and also for acting too little, too late, to prevent its spread out of China to the rest of the world. The U.S. has accused Beijing of delaying visits from American health experts to China in the aftermath of the outbreak. A Chinese Foreign Ministry official has also promoted a conspiracy theory that the U.S. army may have created the pathogen.

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