Beijing has urged India not to use 'China' to describe the novel coronavirus, saying it could stigmatise the country and would be detrimental to international cooperation.
During a phone conversation on Tuesday, state councilor and foreign minister, Mr. Wang Yi told his counterpart, Mr. S Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister, that China hopes that India was 'opposed' to the 'narrow mindset' of using the phrase 'China virus.
The coronavirus outbreak, or the Covid-19 disease, first emerged from the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. The Chinese government has lately argued that it might have been found first in central China but there was no proof it originated there.
Chinese diplomats have led a worldwide campaign to convince host governments not to use the phrase 'China virus'. 'Mr. Wang Yi said it’s not acceptable and detrimental to international cooperation to label the virus and stigmatise China, hope India oppose such a narrow mindset. Dr. Jaishankar agreed not to label the virus and the international community should send a strong signal of solidarity,’ the Chinese envoy to India, Mr. Sun Weidong, said on Tuesday evening.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokespersons in Beijing have also been vocal in its opposition against the use of the phrase, and have strongly criticised the US for using it.
'China has repeatedly reiterated that some individuals in the US have deliberately linked the new coronavirus to China and constantly stigmatised China. The Chinese people are strongly indignant and resolutely opposed to this. Both WHO and the international community are clearly opposed to linking viruses to specific countries and regions, and against stigma,' the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Mr. Geng Shuang, said at the regular ministry briefing on Tuesday.
Tweeting about the phone conversation between Mr. Wang and Mr. Jaishankar, Mr. Sun quoted the Chinese minister as saying that China was '…confident that India can handle and win the battle against Covid-19. China and India should support each other, and jointly safeguard global public health.'
Mr. Wang expressed sympathy and solidarity with India in the fight against Covid-19. 'China is ready to share our experience, provide assistance within our capacity and open its channel for procurement to India,' Mr. Wang was quoted as telling Mr. Jaishankar by Mr. Sun
Mr. Jaishankar thanked China for its sympathy message and assistance of medical materials to India.