Latin America

Latin America seeks Chinese medical aid to fight coronavirus

China has distributed aid packages all over the region, in a new face of soft power dubbed "facemask diplomacy"

China coronavirus face masks aid Latin America
Staff work on a mask production line at Lanzhou Petrochemical Company in Lanzhou, northwest China’s Gansu Province. Photo: Xinhua/Alamy

As Latin America struggles to prepare its underfunded public health systems for a surge in Covid-19 cases, many are looking to China for aid. From the Southern Cone to Central America, governments have either received or are expecting a wide range of donations, from testing kits to ventilators, revealing a new face of Chinese diplomacy and soft power: “facemask diplomacy.”

Direct cooperation between governmental, regional, and local health institutions is listed in a joint action plan published in 2018 by China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States’ (CELAC) the western hemispheric regional bloc that...

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