China has expressed confidence that the coronavirus epidemic will be over soon and the impact of the flu-like virus will be temporary on the country’s economy.
“The impact of the epidemic on the Chinese economy will be short term and temporary,” Qin Gang, China’s vice minister of foreign affairs, said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
“When the epidemic is over, the subdued consumer demand will be released rapidly and the economy will rebound strongly,” he added.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also a day earlier defended Beijing’s management of the epidemic while lashing out at the “overreaction” of other countries to the coronavirus, particularly the United States.
“The epidemic overall is under control,” Wang said in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the conference. “This epidemic is truly sudden. It has brought a challenge to China and the world.”
“We’ve taken such complete prevention and control efforts, efforts that are so comprehensive, that I can’t see any other country that can do this,” he said, adding that any leader in any country would find the challenge very difficult “but China has been able to do this.”
The top Chinese diplomat also criticized the United States for taking drastic measures on coronavirus, such as travel curbs on visitors from China, as the country was the first to announce it was evacuating citizens from Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
“Some countries have stepped up measures, including quarantine measures, which are reasonable and understandable, but for some countries they have overreacted, which has triggered unnecessary panic,” Wang said.
“I’m sure that those countries are reflecting on this as the situation evolves and the epidemic is gradually brought under further control,” he added. “They will gradually release such restrictions. Because at the end of the day, these countries need to interact with China.”
During the interview, Wang rejected the idea that Beijing was not transparent enough in its initial handling of the outbreak, saying, “From the beginning, we took a very open and transparent manner in releasing information to the international community’s cooperation on this effort. We’re not just defending the life, safety and health of Chinese citizens, but also making our contribution for global public health, and that should be recognized.”
The Chinese foreign minister addressed global health concerns as to the deadly virus and further emphasized the strict measures that Beijing has so far taken to ha