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Foreign ministers from China and ASEAN members to hold talks on coronavirus

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Foreign ministers from China and ASEAN members to hold talks on coronavirus

china asean coronavirus
Photo: Aly Song/Reuters

Top diplomats from China and ASEAN countries will hold an emergency conference in Laos today to coordinate their response to coronavirus.

Many ASEAN member states have reported cases and responded accordingly. Religious services have been restricted in Laos and Singapore, while Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore have implemented strict travel bans from China.

Bilateral concerns to develop a more secure emergency response framework are grounded in heavy trade and tourism ties between China and ASEAN, which could be threatened by a long-term outbreak. In 2018, trade between Beijing and the bloc amounted to $588 billion.

While today’s conference may lay the groundwork for a faster and more collaborative response to any future epidemics, do not expect travel bans to be immediately lifted. The short-term impacts of the outbreak on trade and tourism within the region will be determined by changing expectations about the spread of the virus and its threat to individual and national safety.

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