Heightened efforts to keep supply chains open . . .
G20 member countries, under Saudi Arabian presidency this year, have announced an extraordinary virtual leader’s summit for tomorrow (Thursday). Ministers from Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand, and Singapore released a draft joint statement today committing to co-operate in ensuring supply chains stay active and open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, an effort considered in all their “mutual interests.” More details are expected tomorrow. At the same time, the U.S. and China have agreed to collaborate through the G20 platform, putting a pause on their coronavirus ‘blame game.’
Pandemic name calling . . .
China and the U.S. have been mired in war of words over negligence and inaction to tackle the current pandemic. Trump’s stubborn use of the term “Chinese virus” to refer to COVID-19, the official World Health Organization recommendation, has angered Beijing. As cases soar in the U.S., Trump has used the controversial term, which assigns blame for the pandemic to China, and has been decried by diaspora and immigrant communities around the world for inflaming racist sentiments. High-ranking Chinese officials, meanwhile, have attempted to shift responsibility for the outbreak to the U.S., with Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, going as far as accusing Washington of planting the coronavirus at the Military World Games hosted in Wuhan. In the interest of G20 co-operation, both countries have agreed to throttle back on the rhetoric.
'A timely and reassuring signal' . . .
G20 leaders are promising to establish information-sharing mechanisms, provide medical and financial support to less-developed countries, and curb long-term negative impacts on markets. The more immediate concern is guaranteeing the flow of goods, especially essential commodities and medical supplies, by maintaining open trade lines and the continued operation of key infrastructure such as airports and seaports. Ministers have also vowed to “work closely” in identifying further non-tariff barriers. Canada has emerged as a global leader and partner in the fight against COVID-19, adding its G20 efforts to the already active plans to mobilize industry and science to tackle the pandemic.
- Channel News Asia: Singapore, 6 other countries committed to maintaining open supply chains: Joint statement
- New York Times: China spins tale that the U.S. army started the coronavirus epidemic
- South China Morning Post: Hopes for G20 coronavirus summit truce in China-US war of words