China’s commerce minister Wang Wentao, and Liu Guangyuan, commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry’s Hong Kong office, speaking at the sixth Belt and Road Summit, co-hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the local government, also emphasised that cooperation was essential in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Those who seek to impose sanctions and erect walls will eventually find themselves distant from opportunities and their own development interests damaged,” Liu said. “At this critical moment when cooperation is needed … scapegoating others to serve one’s own political interests is unacceptable.