The United States is transporting donated supplies, including life-saving personal protection equipment and medical and humanitarian relief supplies, to Hubei, China, to help with the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The shipments, delivered by planes chartered by the U.S. State Department, arrived in Wuhan this week, as the Chinese government asserts that Washington has not provided substantive assistance.
“The cargo holds in those 747s were full of medical and other supplies donated by Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse, by the LDS Church out in Salt Lake, to take supplies and to take things that will help the people in Wuhan, as a sign of our friendship to the people of China from the people of the United States,” said the White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien on Wednesday in Washington.
“This is a very dangerous and concerning virus, we need to do everything we can to contain it now,” said O’Brien. “This is something that goes beyond politics.”
The White House official’s comments came after allegations from Beijing that Washington is overreacting and spreading fear.
"The U.S. government hasn't provided any substantive assistance to us, but it was the first to evacuate personnel from its consulate in Wuhan, the first to suggest partial withdrawal of its embassy staff, and the first to impose a travel ban on Chinese travelers. What it has done could only create and spread fear, which is a very bad example,” said China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying on Monday.
Analysts said the fast spread of the deadly novel coronavirus and the handling of the ongoing crisis is further testing U.S.-China ties, as mistrust and gaps in information-sharing remain between the two major powers.
“It is a reflection of the current tensions in U.S.-China relations,” said Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Robert Manning.
The two nations “could have turned the crisis into an opportunity to underscore areas like global health that should be examples of U.S.-China common interests,” Manning added.
Others said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is trying to shift the blame away from itself to the U.S., as the CCP is extremely worried about the impact of this pandemic on its legitimacy.
“Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus highlights many of the unique, and problematic features of the CPP-dominated political system,” according to Jude Blanchette who is the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
“Rather than focusing on the already significant challenge of containing a public health emergency, party-state officials are burdened with the extra load of considering the potential political costs of their actions,” Blanchette noted.
Wednesday, a spokesperson from Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization, told VOA it “donated 78 pallets of medical supplies and personal protective equipment to Hubei, China,” in response to the coronavirus.
“The State Department facilitated the delivery of these items,” said the spokesperson.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Salt Lake City, Utah, said the Church is working with Project HOPE, sending supplies to China to assist with coronavirus relief.
The shipments included “220,000 respirator masks, 870 pairs of protective goggles and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls sent on 79 pallets of protective medical equipment,” said the church.
On January 29, a plane from Salt Lake City was being chartered to transport supplies to Hubei, China. A second shipment was sent from the church’s storehouse in Atlanta.