S'pore foreign affairs minister Vivian Balakrishnan confident China will beat Wuhan virus

China has come some way since dealing with SARS in 2003.

Belmont Lay | January 31, 2020, 12:26 PM

Singapore foreign affairs minister Vivian Balakrishnan has expressed full confidence in China's fight against the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

His remarks were made to Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday, Jan. 29 over the phone.

According to Chinese state-run media Xinhua, Vivian said that Singapore admires China's fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic and firmly supports various efforts by China.

The Singapore minister also said Singapore highly appreciates China's prompt sharing of relevant information and urged the international community to cooperatively cope with the challenge of the epidemic.

Details of the phone conversation went beyond what Vivian revealed in his own Facebook post on Jan. 30:

In his post, Vivian said he thanked the People's Republic of China government for facilitating the safe return of 92 Singaporeans from Wuhan.

Singapore and China to maintain close communication

Xinhua added that Vivian said Singapore is willing to keep close communication with the Chinese side and actively provide support and assistance.

Confidence in China dealing with the outbreak stems from the country's current technologies, experience and abilities in coping with such challenges, which have been enhanced remarkably compared with the battle against the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, Vivian said.

Singapore is fully confident that China will finally win the battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic, he noted.

China thanks Singapore for support

In response, Wang said he appreciated that people from various circles and non-governmental organisations in Singapore have recently expressed their understanding of and support for China's battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic, Xinhua reported.

Wang said that at present, the Chinese government and people are sparing no effort to fight the coronavirus epidemic via infection prevention and control, adding that China is also absolutely confident it will win the battle against the epidemic.

This has once again embodied the Chinese and Singaporean people's excellent tradition of always supporting and helping one another, Wang said.

Such support recalled the China-ASEAN leaders' special meeting on SARS, which sent a positive signal of facing difficulties together at that time, Wang also said.

The Chinese side believes that this time, China and ASEAN nations will also maintain close cooperation to overcome challenges posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus, Wang said.