Working together to fight Covid-19 and build community anew

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As of the end of April, China has donated about 12 million surgical masks, nearly 1 million N95 masks, nearly 500,000 pieces of protective clothing, over 1.26 million testing kits, more than 210,000 pairs of goggles, infrared thermometers, ventilators and other urgently needed medical supplies to all the ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat. AFP

The Covid-19 pandemic is still raging. It poses a huge threat to the life and health of people around the world, a daunting challenge to global public health security and has a damaging impact on global economic and social development. The global public health crisis triggered by the pandemic fully demonstrates the urgency of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

After making painstaking efforts and enormous sacrifice, the Chinese government and people have turned the tide on the virus and protected the life and health of the people. In the meantime, China stands for the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind and promoted global anti-pandemic cooperation.

China has acted with openness, transparency and responsibility. We have provided information to WHO and relevant countries in a most timely fashion. We have released the genome sequence at the earliest possible time. We have shared control and treatment experience with the world without reservation. We have done everything in our power to support and assist countries in need.

At the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly on May 18, President Xi Jinping announced a series of new decisions to further advance international cooperation. To name but a few, China will provide $2 billion over the next two years to help with Covid-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries. 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.

I am very pleased to see the fine example ASEAN and China have set in anti-pandemic cooperation since the outbreak. It has injected a new strong impetus into our future endeavours of building a closer ASEAN-China community with a shared future.

On February 20, the ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Covid-19 was held in the Lao capital of Vientiane, the first multilateral meeting ever on anti-pandemic cooperation. On April 14, the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on Covid-19 was held via video link, demonstrating the resolve of ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to work together in pandemic prevention and control as well as our confidence in stabilising the regional economy. The ASEAN-China Health Ministerial Conference, Senior Officials’ Meeting and expert meetings were held one after another.

At these meetings, China shared its experience in prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment with ASEAN, and provided suggestions for ASEAN countries to tailor measures suited to their respective conditions.

While pandemic prevention and control remain a daunting challenge for China even after the domestic situation has been basically brought under control, China has been doing what it can to help ASEAN countries with their anti-pandemic efforts by providing personnel assistance and medical supplies.

China has sent medical expert teams to five ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos and Malaysia, which accounts for nearly one-third of the total Chinese medical expert teams sent abroad. The virus-testing labs China helped to build in the Philippines and Myanmar have been put into use.

As of the end of April, the Chinese central government, subnational governments and business communities have donated about 12 million surgical masks, nearly 1 million N95 masks, nearly 500,000 pieces of protective clothing, over 1.26 million testing kits, more than 210,000 pairs of goggles, infrared thermometers, ventilators and other urgently needed medical supplies to all the ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat.

In addition, China’s resumption of production nationwide at a faster pace has played a major role in the global supply chain of anti-pandemic materials and supported ASEAN member states and other countries in fighting the pandemic. China and the ROK have opened a “fast-track lane” for essential personnel and goods, and China is also discussing this possibility with Singapore and other countries.

This practice is expected to help restore the regional industrial and supply chains and break the dilemma of pandemic prevention and control on the one hand and reopen business on the other.

Facing the threat of Covid-19, mutual assistance between people, coordination between people and society, and solidarity among countries prevail in the international community. However, some politicians in certain countries have made up tons of lies and rumors to shift blame onto other countries and international organisations and cover up their own incompetence in dealing with the pandemic.

This is nothing but political virus more harmful than the novel coronavirus, which severely undermines international solidarity and response. Countries must remain vigilant against these ill-intentioned attempts.

As President Xi pointed out in his telephone conversation with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, this may not be the last time a major emergency comes knocking at our door, and traditional and non-traditional security issues will not stop challenging us.

It is thus imperative for the international community to strengthen the sense of community with a shared future for mankind and act with unity toward building a better future for all.

Deng Xijun is Chinese ambassador to ASEAN

The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network