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Duterte writes ‘solidarity letter’ to Xi over COVID-19 outbreak — envoy

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 10:59 AM February 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has written a letter to China President Xi Jinping to express solidarity over the COVID-19 outbreak that had been plaguing the superpower nation since December.

This was revealed by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian Monday in a forum on COVID-19’s impact and challenges in China.

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“I received an advance copy from Malacañang, the letter written by President Duterte to President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping. In this letter, he expressed his strong solidarity with Chinese president, Chinese government and Chinese people,” Huang said during the Association for Philippines – China Understanding (APCU) forum in Pasig City.

“We are very appreciative of that,” Huang added.

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Huang also thanked Filipinos and the Filipino government for donating relief goods to the province of Hubei in China, the epicenter of the deadly virus.

“The Philippine government donated goods to China. In addition to government aid, Filipino friends from all walks of life have donated cash, relief goods in China despite the urgent need in this country,” the envoy said.

Duterte has previously urged Filipinos to stop blaming Chinese people over the spread of the COVID-19, the name given by the World Health Organization to refer to the novel corona virus (2019-nCoV).

“China has been kind to us. We can also show the same favor to them,” Duterte earlier said.

The Chinese envoy also called on the Philippine government to “reassess” the COVID-19’s situation to decide whether there is still a need for the travel ban.

“Regarding the travel ban, on one hand, we hope to see a scientific and calm response and scientific measures to be taken to prevent and control the spread of the virus here. We hope that there will be a reassessment of the situation so that unnecessary measures will be lifted,” Huang said.

“On the other hand, of course, we respect the decision of the government of the Philippines. I understand its concern to safeguard the health and safety of its people,” he added.

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The Philippine government will review its ban on travel to and from Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said.

The travel ban on China and its special administrative regions was recently expanded to include Taiwan, but the move was revoked after the latter threatened retaliatory actions against the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) would also evaluate the ban “on other jurisdictions, and Macau” for possible lifting.

COVID-19 has so far infected over 68,000 persons globally with 1,665 deaths in China, mostly in Hubei province.

Edited by EDV
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TAGS: China, Huang Xilian, Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, President Xi Jinping
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