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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/3/20

China rolls out the Health Silk Road

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From Asia Times

In the Belt and Road framework, China is supplying much of the world -- including virus-hit Europe --with medicine and healthcare items

Chinese veteran hands out face masks for free amid coronavirus outbreak
Chinese veteran hands out face masks for free amid coronavirus outbreak
(Image by YouTube, Channel: New China TV)
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In a graphic demonstration of soft power, so far China has offered Covid-19-related equipment and medical help to no fewer than 89 nations -- and counting.

That covers Africa (especially South Africa, Namibia and Kenya, with Alibaba in fact announcing it will send help to all African nations); Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru); the arc from East Asia to Southwest Asia; and Europe.

Key recipients in Europe include Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Serbia and Poland. But Italy, most of all, is a very special case. Most are donations. Some are trade like millions of masks sold to France (and the US).

Less than a year ago Italy became the first G-7 nation to sign a memorandum of understanding formally joining Belt and Road much to the displeasure of Washington and the Atlanticist galaxy in Brussels and beyond.

Earlier this year in Sicily, I discussed these intricacies in detail with Enrico Fardella, Professor of History at Peking University and an expert on China-Mediterranean relations.

Italy is supported on myriad fronts not only at the highest political level but also via the Chinese Red Cross, Sino-Italian associations, tech/logistics Chinese companies and donations from Alibaba, Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo. There are three Chinese medical teams in Italy at the moment.

This all ties up with the larger Belt and Road picture, featuring investments in Genoa and Trieste, two key ports and future Belt and Road nodes.

That spells out the inter-connectivity of nations that badly need development and infrastructure along with the need for good health systems and practices.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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