Which are the countries that support China

Help for Serbia and Italy : How China is securing influence in Europe in the Corona crisis

In his address on Tuesday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić made it clear what he thought of cooperation with the European Union in times of the Corona crisis. "It was a beautiful fairy tale," said Vučić in view of the EU's isolation. Now it is clear that European solidarity does not exist.

Due to the spread of the coronavirus, he wanted to import protective equipment from the EU for his country. At the moment, however, protective masks, protective suits and the like are only allowed to be exported to non-EU countries with the “express permission of the EU governments”. The country in the Western Balkans, which has officially been a candidate for EU membership since 2012, therefore feels abandoned by the Europeans.

So far 89 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Serbia

According to the John Hopkins University in Serbia, 89 coronavirus infections have been officially confirmed so far (as of March 19). This means that Serbia is still far behind other European countries, where there are now thousands of cases, but it is only a matter of time before the number of cases in Serbia also increases dramatically.

And that should be particularly dramatic for the country with seven million inhabitants. Because the health system in Serbia is ailing. Patients often have to wait several years for state health insurance benefits. A skyrocketing number of coronavirus patients could quickly lead to collapse.

Vučić: "China is the only country that can help us"

For Vučić it is clear who should be the savior in an emergency. Although Serbia applied for EU membership around eleven years ago, it also maintains close contact with Beijing at the same time. And that is likely to become even closer in the future. "China is the only country that can help us," announced Vučić. The greatest hope lies in cooperation with Beijing. He had therefore written a letter to China's head of government.

Background about the coronavirus:

How close the alliance should be, he made clear in his letter to Xi Jinping: Xi Jinping is not just a friend, but a "brother", wrote the Serbian president. And not his personal, "but the friend and brother of my country".

In China, these drastic words are received with goodwill. In particular, the “nonexistent European solidarity” was picked up in the Chinese state media. "A friend in need is a real friend," said China's state news agency Xinhua. "If handshakes are no longer encouraged in Europe, China's helping hand could make a difference." donated to the Mammoth Foundation, an aid organization based in Shenzhen, has already arrived in Belgrade.

China wants to reorganize geopolitics

For Xi Jinping, the pandemic is thus an opportunity to redefine one's own role in the world and to reshuffle the maps of global geopolitics. China as a savior in need - who shows solidarity even in times of crisis. The staging is necessary for China: China's image has been damaged by the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan. The image of the cause of the pandemic is now to be exchanged for the image of the savior.

And Italy, which has the most Covid-19 infected worldwide after China, is increasingly relying on help from Beijing. Two teams of doctors and a number of relief supplies have already been sent to Italy. Another team is expected.

As the "Wirtschaftswoche" reports, the controversial Huawei group should also benefit from the aid for Rome. The Chinese mobile phone supplier wants to provide Italy with technologies that will improve the flow of data between hospitals. Huawei also wants to supply protective masks. This is not only intended to fight the corona virus in Italy, but also apparently the skepticism towards the Chinese company.

On Monday, the Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte phoned China's head of state Xi Jinping. As the state news agency announced, Conte thanked for the "valuable support" and praised China's approach. And Xi Jinping assured: China wants to build a “Silk Road of Health”.

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