The first shipment of supplies donated by China to help South Korea's fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic will arrive in the country soon, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday.
The Chinese government will provide 100,000 N95 masks, 1 million surgical masks, 10,000 medical protective suits and 50,000 test kits to South Korea, the country worst hit by the virus outside of China.
According to Geng, some local governments in China, including those in Shanghai and Shandong province, have already donated supplies to fight the epidemic to their sister cities in South Korea, which had reported more than 7,000 infections as of Monday.
"Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the South Korean government and people have provided great help and support to China in fighting the virus and China is deeply grateful for this," Geng said.
It is natural that China and South Korea, as close neighbors, stand together and assist each other amid difficulties, he said.
Geng also clarified on Monday that the Chinese government did not impose any restrictions on the export of masks and related supplies as some foreign media have reported.
"Companies can carry out related business based on market-oriented principles," he said, but added that overseas purchasers may face some difficulties given that domestic demand is still high.
"China is willing to provide medical protective materials such as masks to other countries and join hands with them to finally win the fight against the epidemic," he added.
Speaking at Monday's news conference, the ministry spokesman denounced the "despicable practice" of some U.S. politicians who have stigmatized China and Wuhan by association with the novel coronavirus.
The spokesman's remark came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent reference to the novel coronavirus as the "Wuhan virus" or "Wuhan coronavirus".
Geng also refuted Pompeo's claim that the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak was hampered by so-called incomplete data from China.
"The Chinese side has notified the World Health Organization and relevant countries and regions, including the U.S., of epidemic information in an open, transparent and responsible attitude since the epidemic outbreak," Geng said.
Pompeo's attempt to slander China's efforts against the epidemic will not succeed, he added.