France, China seek emergency G20 talks

Saudi Arabia has called for a video-conference of leaders as fallout from coronavirus lockdowns hammer world financial markets

by AFP
France, China seek emergency G20 talks
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday about a video summit to help deal with health and economic crises in a coordinated way. File photo from November 2019 by Nicholas Asfouri/ AFP

PARIS: France and China agree on the need for emergency talks by leaders of the G20 major economies on coordinating an international response to the coronavirus crisis, the French presidency said on Monday.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday, after Saudi Arabia, which currently presides over the G20, last week called for a "virtual" summit.

"The two leaders agreed a summit would be helpful in particular on the health front... and on the economic front" the Elysee Palace said in a statement, citing "coordinated fiscal and monetary measures." 

France sent medical aid to China in January as it battled the virus outbreak that emerged in the city of Wuhan in December. Beijing returned the favour by supplying masks and other equipment to Italy, France and other hard-hit European countries.

"The presidents agreed that their teams will remain in close contact over technical cooperation as well as material needs to combat this epidemic," the statement said.

Saudi Arabia has called for an extraordinary video-conference of G20 leaders as the economic fallout from the coronavirus lockdowns spreading worldwide hammered financial markets, putting many countries on course for a recession.