Reinforce Global Cooperation with Renewed Solidarity to Defeat COVID-19
– Statement at the Special Session of the General Assembly in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Wang Yi, Special Representative of H.E. President Xi Jinping and State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China
3 December 2020
China supports the UN General Assembly in convening this special session in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that all parties will focus on the issue at hand, strengthen solidarity and expand consensus to reinforce cooperation.
The year 2020 is truly extraordinary in human history. Confronted by the sudden onslaught of the novel coronavirus, humanity has shown great fortitude and has come together to tide over the trying time, writing a remarkable chapter in history. As the world is braced for a second wave of infections, what lies ahead is a tenuous and uphill battle.
We need to act decisively to contain the spread of the virus. It is important to fully leverage the support of science and technology to strengthen monitoring and early warning, tracing and testing, treatment and quarantine, and information sharing, and to promote collective response around the world so as to curb the cross-border spread of the virus. As countries take varied approaches with different priorities, what remains central is to respect and protect every life and treat every patient with utmost efforts. Vaccines, a powerful weapon to defeat the virus, should be a global public good and accessible and affordable for developing countries.
We need to enhance solidarity and cooperation. As the virus sweeps across the world, no place is Shangri-La with absolute safety. Defeating the pandemic requires concerted efforts from all countries. The major ones, in particular, must play an exemplary role in promoting collaboration, which is the right way forward. Public health security should be made a priority on the international agenda, accompanied by efforts to improve the governance system for public health security and strengthen emergency response capacity. It is also necessary to channel more support and input to the World Health Organization so that it can play the critical leadership role.
We need to coordinate COVID-19 control and economic and social development. While the virus is likely to stay for quite some time, we must be prepared for a prolonged struggle. It means that we should reopen the economy and at the same time keep the response measures in place. We should bring out the best in both the government and the market to promote employment, ensure people’s livelihoods, and enhance the resilience of development. We should make good use of the new business forms and models that took shape during the pandemic to boost emerging industries and pursue a “green recovery”. And we should strengthen international coordination on macroeconomic policies to keep global industrial and supply chains stable.
We need to step up support for developing countries. This means continued help to developing countries through anti-epidemic experience sharing, material and technological support, and medicine and vaccine cooperation, as well as providing greater humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable communities. More resources should be devoted to areas such as infectious diseases control, public health capacity-building, and food security. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others should offer more concessional terms on financing to lessen the burden of developing countries.
We need to foster an enabling international environment for the fight against COVID-19. Countries in conflict are the weak links in the global campaign against the pandemic. Conflicting parties should actively respond to the appeal for global ceasefire made by Secretary-General António Guterres, disengage on the battleground and focus on fighting the virus. It is important to listen to the calls of the international community and remove all forms of unilateral sanctions and other unilateral coercive measures.
Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has all along put the people and their lives above everything else in its COVID-19 response. We have taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures and established a mechanism to coordinate medium to long-term efforts on epidemic control and economic and social development. We have also launched the largest-ever global humanitarian campaign in the history of the People’s Republic of China, engaged in the most intensive virtual exchanges, and stepped up to our responsibility as the largest supplier of anti-epidemic materials.
China will continue to provide support and assistance to countries in need. We are speeding up the phase III clinical trials of our vaccines. Once developed and deployed, we will make them global public goods and provide them to other developing countries as our contribution to building a community of health for all.
As Winter has arrived, Spring is not far away. Guided by the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, let us walk hand in hand, determined and undaunted, to get through this difficult time and embrace the dawn of victory.
Thank you, Mr. President.