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15 Apr, 2020 13:29

Hey, where’d you get those supplies from? Polish NATO delegation forgets to mention Covid-19 gear shipment came from China

Hey, where’d you get those supplies from? Polish NATO delegation forgets to mention Covid-19 gear shipment came from China

With the world struggling to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, Poland’s delegation to NATO has been eager to promote cross-border aid and international solidarity on its Twitter account – with one major exception.

The Poland In Nato account has posted a slew of tweets in recent days and weeks, highlighting shipments of medical supplies around the world, making sure to include emoji flags in each one to indicate where the goods came from. It’s all very kumbaya, with talk of “transatlantic unity and solidarity” and whatnot.

However, the Chinese flag has been conspicuously absent, despite Beijing’s significant role in delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to crisis-hit regions, including Europe.

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The odd reluctance to acknowledge China’s role became comically clear on Tuesday after Beijing sent a plane of supplies ordered by Warsaw, including 100 tons of supplies on board, including gowns, face shields and masks. Surely an opportunity to highlight China’s assistance with some emoji diplomacy?

Think again. The Polish delegation tweeted the news that the “world’s largest cargo plane” just landed in Warsaw as the “fight against Covid-19 continues.” The tweet included the Polish and Ukrainian flag emojis, but the Chinese flag emoji was nowhere to be seen – nor any mention of China at all.

The Ukrainian flag was included because the one-of-a-kind AN225 ‘Mriya’ (Dream) cargo plane was designed and built in the Soviet Union in the 1980s – a tidbit of information that prompted some amusement in the comments underneath the tweet.

“Wait, a Soviet plane bringing Chinese goods? How NATO…,” one tweeter sarcastically summed up.

To be fair, Poland’s foreign ministry did send its own tweet announcing that a plane from China had arrived in Warsaw carrying the goods ordered by two Polish companies.

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But what could be behind the Polish NATO delegation’s bizarre reluctance to credit China with being the source of the much-needed supplies?

Rather than acknowledging the role played in this international effort by countries like Russia and China (which, of course, have their own Covid-19 problems to deal with) NATO officials have chosen to accuse Moscow and Beijing of “exploiting” the crisis and painted their aid as something sinister and suspicious.

One former NATO official quoted recently lashed out at Russian military and medical experts “charging around Italy” after Moscow sent hundreds of ventilators, PPE and other critical supplies, along with a team of experts, to help Rome deal with the worst Covid-19 outbreak in Europe. Another NATO official warned that Italy had fallen into a “trap” by accepting Russian help. Meanwhile, NATO topdog the US has directed most of its pandemic-related ire squarely at China, despite the Trump administration’s own failure to make basic preparations to deal with the outbreak.

So perhaps Poland's NATO delegation is ashamed of receiving aid from China? Or maybe it’s just being careful not to trigger an angry reaction from its friends in the US by giving Beijing too much praise?

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.