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Jakarta Post

Indonesia, China deepen ties through COVID-19 response

  • Apriza Pinandita
    Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 26, 2020   /   07:46 pm
Indonesia, China deepen ties through COVID-19 response Officers spray the Indonesian Air Force's C130 Hercules aircraft with disinfectant liquid at Raden Sadjad Air Base, Natuna, Riau Islands on Sunday, March 22, 2020. The aircraft number A-1333 carries medicines and medical equipment to handle COVID-19 outbreak from China. (Handout/Indonesian Air Force Information Service)

Indonesia and China have agreed to use global platforms to strengthen bilateral ties, with the COVID-19 response identified as the first and foremost issue to address together.

The pledge was among the matters discussed during a phone call on Tuesday between Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Apart from discussing means to fight the spread of the deadly coronavirus, the two ministers exchanged notes on how their countries were addressing the global health crisis.

“The foreign minister conveyed her appreciation [of] the Chinese government’s success in handling COVID-19. She also appreciated the assistance provided by the Chinese government for Indonesia in battling the virus,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said on Thursday.

During the phone call, the Indonesian minister expressed hope that the two countries would intensify their cooperation, including on the procurement of medical supplies Indonesia needs.

Read also: COVID-19 stimulus: Learning from others

Beijing has flown much-needed medical equipment from the city of Shanghai to Jakarta to support Indonesia’s COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

According to the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta, the assistance was a way of returning the favor to the international community, including Indonesia, which had helped China in its hardest time during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Medical supplies consisting of test kits, N95 masks, surgical masks, protective gear and portable ventilators were shipped on Tuesday, adding to a delivery made the day before.

Indonesia received thousands of pieces of medical supplies from China on Monday. The equipment was transported on a military aircraft that landed at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta after picking up the goods from Shanghai.

Officers spray the Indonesian Air Force's C130 Hercules aircraft with disinfectant liquid at Raden Sadjad Air Base, Natuna, Riau Islands on Sunday, March 22, 2020. The aircraft number A-1333 carries medicines and medical equipment to handle COVID-19 outbreak from China.Officers spray the Indonesian Air Force's C130 Hercules aircraft with disinfectant liquid at Raden Sadjad Air Base, Natuna, Riau Islands on Sunday, March 22, 2020. The aircraft number A-1333 carries medicines and medical equipment to handle COVID-19 outbreak from China. (Handout/Indonesian Air Force Information Service)

During a press conference on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the Chinese government would without any hesitation reciprocate the kindness of countries that had assisted China in its fight against COVID-19.

“We will offer assistance as our capability allows to friendly countries that are in a severe situation and lack prevention and control materials, especially those developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as regional organizations, such as the African Union,” Geng said according to a press release.

China also stands ready to deepen cooperation with Indonesia in responding to the epidemic and is ready to share its experience with Indonesia and other ASEAN countries.

“We are confident that, under the leadership of President Joko Widodo, the Indonesian people will ultimately prevail over the epidemic,” said Wang Yi in a statement on Wednesday.

The Chinese minister said China and Indonesia, both being important members of the G20, should work together for more solidarity and coordination among the group and send a unified positive message in the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19.

“Indonesia and China should also support other countries in their outbreak response and contribute to global public health security,” he added.

Read also: China's imported virus cases spike as fears grow of second wave

The phone call on Tuesday was made as China’s Hubei province, where the pandemic originated, started to lift travel restrictions on people leaving the region as the outbreak eases in the region – despite the fact that other regions were tightening controls as new cases doubled due to imported infections.

The Hubei Health Commission lifted curbs on outgoing travelers starting Wednesday, provided they had a health clearance code, Reuters reports.

The provincial capital Wuhan, where the virus first appeared and which has been in total lockdown since Jan. 23, will see its travel restrictions lifted on April 8.

However, the risk from overseas infections appears to be on the rise, prompting tougher screening and quarantine measures in major cities, such as the capital Beijing, the news agency reports.