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China ramps up COVID-19 diplomacy in Mideast

As the Trump administration tries to link the coronavirus to a Chinese laboratory, Beijing is using the pandemic to strengthen ties in the Gulf.
Women wear protective face masks, as they walk, after Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary lockdown on the province of Qatif, following the spread of coronavirus, in Qatif, Saudi Arabia March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer - RC25HF9S55OY

Having seemingly contained the novel coronavirus within China, Beijing has now switched its focus to aid efforts globally on a fast-track basis — including providing masks, test kits, diagnostic and medical technology, other equipment and training facilities to many countries in the Middle East affected by the pandemic.

Some Middle Eastern countries look to follow what they perceive as successful Chinese strategies in dealing with COVID-19. China has gained a reputation for having dealt relatively effectively with the virus, and thus the popular perception in parts of the Mideast is that China can help end the pandemic quickly.

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