To build a community of health for all


By Nong Rong

The once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc, posing a great threat to the lives and health of people all over the world, and is a big challenge to global public health. In the face of this common crisis for mankind, the international community needs solidarity and cooperation more than ever. Regrettably, an unhealthy trend of politicisation of the origin-tracing of the coronavirus by certain countries have seriously undermined the global combat against the pandemic, instigating the WHO Secretariat to unilaterally put forward a plan for the second phase of studies into the origins of coronavirus, without the consent of Member States. Many countries have raised concerns and voiced objection to the move. It is a shared belief that the plan is inconsistent with the resolution of the 73rd WHA, or the conclusions and recommendations of the China-WHO Joint Study of the Origins of the Novel Coronavirus. It failed to reflect the latest outcomes of global research and cannot serve as the basis for the second phase of joint origin studies. 70 countries have written letters, made statements or sent notes to the WHO Director General, stating that they welcome the China-WHO Joint Study of the Origins of the Novel Coronavirus and reject politicising virus origin-tracing issue. This is the legitimate appeal and voice of justice from the international community.

China has always taken an open, transparent, scientific and cooperative attitude on the issue of origin-tracing. China has taken the lead in cooperating with the WHO on origin-tracing, and has twice invited WHO experts in for origin-tracing studies, and opened the Wuhan Institute of Virology to international experts. China is ready to actively participate in the origin-tracing studies in a truly scientific manner, meanwhile is firmly against the use of origin-tracing as a tool for political gain and an excuse to slander other countries. At the Global Health Summit in May this year, President Xi Jinping made an important address and clearly advocated unity and cooperation among the international community. President Xi promised that China will provide an additional 3 billion US dollars in international aid over the next three years to support COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery in other developing countries. China supports its vaccine companies in transferring technologies to other developing countries and carrying out joint production with them. China proposed to set up an international forum on vaccine cooperation for vaccine-developing and producing countries, companies and other stakeholders to explore ways of promoting fair and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. As of July, China had provided more than 500 million doses of vaccines and its raw fluids to more than 100 countries and international organizations, equivalent to one-sixth of the current global production of COVID-19 vaccines, and contributed to the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries.

ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong discussing various issues with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM House.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Pakistan have worked hand in hand to help each other, setting a good example for global cooperation against the pandemic. China has made Pakistan a priority for vaccine aid and exports, providing more than 35 million doses of the vaccine to Pakistan as of July. At the 3rd Round of China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue held recently, the two sides agreed that the origin-tracing of the coronavirus is a scientific task, and should not be politicised. China also appreciates Pakistan’s joint letter to the Director-General of WHO and the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, stressing that virus tracing is a scientific task and clearly opposing the politicization of the origin-tracing of the coronavirus. China will continue to meet the vaccine demand of Pakistan within all its capacity, and assist Pakistan in strengthening the national health system and tackling the disruptions of the pandemic to economic and social development.

ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong meeting with Pakistan President Dr. Arif Alvi at the President House on Monday, August 9.

On August 5, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi will host the First Online Meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation. Foreign ministers or competent ministers of relevant countries, representatives of the United Nations and other international organisations, and representatives of relevant enterprises are invited to the meeting. It is really appreciated that my friend, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Mr Asad Umar will attend the meeting on Pakistan’s behalf. I firmly believe that the successful convening of the meeting will further promote international cooperation and the equitable access to vaccines around the world, and bring countries to work together to prevail over the pandemic.

Gateway of the Gwadar port in Southwest Pakistan’s Gwadar. The port is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

As long as the international community stand together and help each other in times of difficulty, advance anti-pandemic cooperation unswervingly, and build a community of health for all at all our efforts, we will have more confidence to win a complete victory over the pandemic at an early date, and usher in a better future for mankind.

(The writer is China’s ambassador to Pakistan based in Islamabad.)