Pakistan President arrives in China amid global coronavirus scare

Amid global coronavirus scare, Pakistan President Arif Alvi arrived in Beijing on Monday on a two-day visit to convey Islamabad’s strong support and solidarity to Beijing in its battle against the pandemic that has killed over 3,200 people in China.

“Pakistani President Alvi arrived in Beijing at a difficult time for the Chinese people to fight against novel coronavirus. This is his first visit to China as President. Long live China-Pakistan friendship! #Chin-Pakistan dosti zindabad!” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted.

Alvi was accompanied by a Pakistani delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and senior officials, Pakistan’s state-run APP news agency reported.

He would meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, the report said.

The visit is specifically aimed at conveying strong support and solidarity of Pakistan towards the Government and the people of China in their battle against COVID-19, it said.

As of Monday, the coronavirus death toll in China rose to 3,213 with to 80,860 confirmed cases. The coronavirus or COVID-19, which originated in China’s Wuhan city in December, has claimed over 6,500 lives and infected more than 169,000 people over 135 countries and territories.

After China, Italy and Iran are the two worst-affected countries.

Alvi’s visit comes as the virus slowed down in China and spread rapidly in different parts of the world including Pakistan, which has reported 136 confirmed cases till Monday.

Earlier, Pakistan declined to evacuate its over 1,000 nationals, mostly students, from worst-hit Wuhan and Hubei province, saying that the Chinese government has assured to take care of them.

On February 20, when the virus outbreak was at its peak, Xi spoke to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and assured China’s commitment to take the Pakistan-China economic partnership to a new level stating that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will continue to be the strongest link.

Read | Coronavirus: Section 144 imposed in J&K’s Ganderbal district

Read | Pak uses SAARC video conference on coronavirus to raise Kashmir, calls for lifting of ‘lockdown’

Watch | What are countries doing to contain coronavirus spread?

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