Building a global community of health for all

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Building a global community of health for all

Tian
Qi

Sunday, May 31, 2020

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The 73rd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) was successfully held via video link from May 18 to 19. It is of significance that this WHA was held at such a critical moment as the human race battles the novel coronavirus.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the opening session and called on the international community to work as one and make concerted efforts to protect the life and health of people in all countries, safeguard planet Earth, and build a global community of health for all. Noting that “solidarity and cooperation is a sure way through which we, the people of the world, can defeat this novel coronavirus”, President Xi announced five concrete measures to boost international cooperation against COVID-19:

1. China will provide US$2 billion over two years to help with COVID-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries.

2. China will work with the United Nations (UN) to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, ensure the operation of anti-epidemic supply chains, and foster “green corridors” for fast-track transportation and customs clearance.

3. China will establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and accelerate the building of the Africa CDC headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity.

4. COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. This will be China's contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.

5. China will work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries. China is also ready to work with the international community to bolster support for the hardest-hit countries under the greatest strain of debt service, to tide them over the current difficulties.

President Xi also proposed to restore economic and social development and strengthen international cooperation, stressing that “international macroeconomic policy coordination should be stepped up and the global industrial and supply chains be kept stable and unclogged if we are to restore growth to the world economy”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a special body, and also a core power to propel and coordinate international efforts fighting the pandemic. Under the leadership of Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO has actively promoted international anti-pandemic cooperation, and won broad recognition from the international society.

As the international fight against the pandemic is now at a crucial stage, supporting the WHO means supporting the purposes and principles of multilateralism, supporting international cooperation against COVID-19, and saving lives. China has always strictly observed the WHO rules and regulations to pay assessed contributions timely and in full, and also provided voluntary contributions to the WHO as its capacity allows. Since the outbreak began, China has donated a total of US$50 million to the WHO, set up RMB 2 billion of special funds on COVID-19 cooperation, sent out 24 medical teams, and provided enormous amounts of material assistance to the WHO and various countries.

President Xi also expressed China's staunch support of the WHO, calling on the international community to increase political and financial support for the agency so as to mobilise resources worldwide to defeat the virus.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and leaders from other countries who addressed the opening via video link all expressed their support to the WHO and multilateralism, as well as enhanced joint efforts in the global fight against COVID-19.

We appreciate that Jamaica an important member of the Group of 77 (G77) and China, Non-Aligned Movement, Caricom, and other multilateral organisations has expressed firm support for the WHO's leadership and guidance in the global war against COVID-19. Your support is in agreement with the common aspiration and general trend of the world, which demonstrates the confidence of the international community in the WHO.

In order to enforce the existing cooperation on fighting COVID-19 and consolidate the traditional friendship between China and the Caribbean, with the vision of building a community of shared future for mankind, China and Caribbean countries with which it has diplomatic relations held a special vice-foreign ministers' meeting on COVID-19 via video link on May 11. It was the second such meeting for the two sides to have in-depth exchange over issues including the domestic COVID-19 situation and response, China-Caribbean cooperation in fighting the pandemic, and coordination and cooperation in international affairs.

All participants expressed readiness to enhance cooperation in prevention and control of COVID-19, and jointly uphold global health security. The Caribbean counterparts expressed objection to politicising, stigmatising, and labelling practices under the pretext of the pandemic, and support for the WHO's leading role in the global response.

China will continue to firmly support the Caribbean's efforts against COVID-19, share our containment experience and treatment solutions, offer material and technical assistance, and facilitate commercial purchase of medical materials in China. Meanwhile, we will actively expand all-round practical cooperation with Caribbean countries in areas like trade and investment, and strengthen communication and coordination in international and regional organisations to elevate relations to a new level.

Fredrich Engels noted, “There is no great historical evil without a compensating historical progress.” Human history is a story of mankind wrestling with various diseases and disasters, always emerging stronger and more resilient. The pandemic will pass eventually, but what China and the Caribbean countries have is an enduring relationship. Our friendship and cooperation after the test of this pandemic will emerge stronger and more profound.

— Tian Qi is China's ambassador to Jamaica


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