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Johnson offers sympathies over coronavirus in call with China's Xi

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at Downing Street in London, Britain February 13, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday and expressed his sympathies to those hit by the coronavirus outbreak, a spokeswoman for Johnson’s office said.

“He offered his sympathies for those affected by the outbreak of coronavirus in China. President Xi thanked the UK for its support and in particular welcomed the donation of vital medical equipment to China,” the spokeswoman said.

She added: “The Prime Minister and President agreed on the importance of the UK-China relationship and resolved to work together across a range of issues including strengthening the economic partnership, to benefit the people of both China and the UK.”

Earlier this month, the BBC reported that China had expressed concern to Boris Johnson’s father that the prime minister had not sent a personal message of support to Beijing over the outbreak of coronavirus.

Reporting by Sarah Young, Writing by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison