Monday, April 15, 2024

China foreign minister attends Munich Security Conference amid coronavirus outbreak

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2019.

Mark Kauzlarich | Reuters

MUNICH — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will travel to Germany this weekend to discuss the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, among other national security issues.

Wang is slated to give a keynote speech at the annual Munich Security Conference, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday.

He is expected to discuss Beijing’s efforts to contain the flu-like virus, now named COVID-19. The virus has killed at least 1,384 people and sickened more than 64,453 worldwide.

Follow CNBC’s live blog on the coronavirus

Since the deadly outbreak, Wang is the first Chinese senior official to travel overseas.

While the majority of confirmed coronavirus cases are in mainland China, the virus has also been identified in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, India, Singapore, Nepal, Hong Kong, Macao, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Wang’s trip to Munich comes as German auto manufacturers brace for production and sale setbacks from the deadly coronavirus.

Cars, the nation’s top export, are uniquely affected by the coronavirus since so many German carmakers have established several auto plants throughout China.

His trip also comes on the heels of White House officials expressing doubts about the information coming out of China regarding the coronavirus. Researchers are skeptical that the official numbers from China reflect how contagious the virus truly is.

China “also continues to rebuff American offers of assistance,” a senior administration official told CNBC.

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