By He Yin
Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 18 delivered a speech titled Fighting COVID-19 Through Solidarity and Cooperation, Building a Global Community of Health for All via video link at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA).
Proposing to build a global community of health for all, he expounded on China’s propositions in pandemic response and raised a series of important initiatives, which has practical and long-term significance for boosting global confidence in defeating the virus, promoting international anti-pandemic cooperation, and planning future global governance system.
What the world is facing is the most serious global public health emergency since the end of World War II. The WHA, convened at a critical moment, received high attention from around the world. Xi’s speech reflected the high recognition from the international community on China’s achievements in COVID-19 prevention and control, as well as China’s important role played in global anti-pandemic cooperation.
To mobilize resources worldwide to defeat the virus, Xi said the world must do everything it can for COVID-19 control and treatment, provide greater support for Africa, strengthen global governance in the area of public health, restore economic and social development, and strengthen international cooperation. Besides, the World Health Organization (WHO) should lead the global response, Xi said.
What Xi put forward was the valuable experience drawn from China’s anti-pandemic practices, which addresses both the urgent problems and the long-term development in global public health, and forms an integrated and complete system. His proposals further proved that China is always a pioneer in solidarity and cooperation.
“The message from President Xi Jinping has inspired us so much to fight the pandemic,” said Bounkong Syhavong, president of the 72nd session of the WHA and Minister of Health of Laos. He praised China for playing an important role in providing valuable assistance, saying the country has made huge contribution at the critical moment of fighting the pandemic.
China’s pandemic response is lauded as an example for the world, and its achievements are bringing the world hope. The international society is gradually coming to realize that China’s proposal for solidarity and cooperation is able to build tremendous power that leads to final victory.
At the WHA, Xi came up with five measures for the sake of boosting international cooperation against COVID-19, and all of them are welcomed by the world.
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.
China will work with the 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.
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.
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.
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, so that they could tide over the current difficulties.
These constructive measures aim at addressing the priorities and difficulties of global pandemic response for the present and the years to come, carry the sincere wish of China to make positive construction to promoting global cooperation against COVID-19, and demonstrate the major country responsibility of China for the lives and health of its people, as well as the development of global public health.
Now the world is at a critical moment when solidarity and responsibility are needed more than ever, and China’s proposals are made upon international consensus.
Key words such as “solidarity” and “support the WHO” appeared in almost all the speeches delivered by heads of state and international organizations at the WHA. “Now is the time for unity, for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the opening of the assembly. When solidarity triumphs over ideology, anything is possible, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Calling the assembly “one of the most important assemblies in the history of the WHO,” French President Emmanuel Macro said this must be a moment of unity and solidarity, and also a moment of clear thought and effective action. German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that “the WHO is a legitimate world organization in the area of health. We should continue to work to improve the procedures within the WHO. We should also look into its financing to ensure that it is sustainable.”
“Mankind is a community with a shared future. Solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. This is the key lesson the world has learned from fighting HIV/AIDS, Ebola, avian influenza, influenza A (H1N1) and other major epidemics. And solidarity and cooperation is a sure way through which we, the people of the world, can defeat this novel coronavirus.” Xi’s expounding not only charters the course, but also enhances confidence.
The world must be aware that only joint cooperation can protect the lives and health of the people around the world and common homeland of the human beings. Building a global community of health for all concerns the well-being of all mankind, and countries shall make joint efforts to achieve this goal.
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