YUE Xiaoyong:Cooperation critical to fight against pandemic

  • YUE Xiaoyong: China Forum Expert, Former Ambassador

    Enhanced cooperation among all countries is "the most powerful tool to combat the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak". This is the central message of the 73rd annual meeting of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. Global cooperation and solidarity are also crucial for countries to achieve economic recovery.

    The WHA resolution calls for intensifying efforts, and granting equitable access to and fair distribution of essential health technologies and products to combat the virus. The resolution also emphasizes the critical role played by the WHO in the global fight against the novel coronavirus.

    Many countries and media outlets praised the resolution, with The New York Times saying that WHO member states "rallied around the WHO at its annual meeting in Geneva, largely ignoring (Donald) Trump's demand for an overhaul and calling for a global show of support, which left the United States isolated as officials from China, Russia and the European Union chided Mr. Trump's heated rhetoric."

    Enhancing global cooperation is also the most important message the G20 summit sent out on March 26. The summit emphasized that, to combat the pandemic, we need a transparent, robust, coordinated, large-scale and science-based "global response in the spirit of solidarity".

    China has been sending out the same message of enhanced global cooperation to the world to prevent and control the pandemic. As State Councilor Wang Yi said at a press conference during the National People's Congress annual session, the Chinese people have but one goal: to save as many lives as possible and contain the pandemic. Yet some politicians, especially in the United States, have been blaming China for the global spread of the virus to divert domestic public attention from their failure to contain the pandemic.

    More and more people across the world are urging countries, big and small, developed and developing, to work together to win the battle against the virus and put the global economy back on track. Which shows the global public opinion is against politicizing the fight against the pandemic. As WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on May 8: "The goal of all countries should be to save their people. Don't politicize this virus ... No need to use COVID-19 to score political points."

    In contrast to US politicians, some US columnists have stressed China's policies have proven effective in containing the virus. But such sober, balanced and constructive views have fallen on the deaf ears of the US administration.

    The global pandemic situation is still dire. The number of global cases has crossed 7 million and the death toll has surpassed the 415,000 mark, with the US accounting for nearly 2 million cases and more than 110,000 deaths.

    While most of the US states and many European countries have resumed economic activities, how to strike a balance between economic recovery and virus control, and thus prevent a second wave of infections is a real challenge for all. The battle against the virus is still daunting, and demands global cooperation. That's why it was shocking to see the US pull out of the WHO.

    The Chinese people and government support global cooperation, including cooperation between the Chinese and American peoples. In fact, China has decided to provide $2 billion over two years for strengthening the global fight against the pandemic.

    China's economic recovery efforts, despite facing many challenges, will move ahead, as the recently concluded National People's Congress annual session showed, and thus help boost the global recovery. And in spite of the challenges posed by natural disasters or manmade "political viruses", humanity can be reasonably optimistic about overcoming the current hardships. The pandemic has once again made the world realize that humankind has a shared future.

    As President Xi Jinping put it in his speech to the recent World Health Assembly meeting, mankind is a community with a shared future and solidarity is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. This is the key lesson the world has learned from fighting HIV/AIDS, the Ebola outbreak, the bird flu and H1N1 and other epidemics. Solidarity and cooperation are the best way to defeat the novel coronavirus. They are also the best way to hasten global economic recovery.

    This article was first published on China Daily.

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