Xi holds phone talks with Putin on COVID-19 pandemic


Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Brasilia, Brazil on November 13, 2019. (File photo: Xinhua)

BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, spoke over phone on Thursday night, reaffirming mutual support in the fight against COVID-19 and rejecting politicization of the pandemic.

As the coronavirus disease is spreading around the globe, Xi said, all countries are faced with the arduous task of tackling the epidemic.

Recalling that he and Putin held two telephone conversations in a month to exchange views and coordinate positions on how to better cooperate in epidemic prevention and control, Xi said that has once again demonstrated the high level of China-Russia relations.

Xi noted that Putin has been personally planning and commanding Russia's battle against the contagious illness, and has introduced a series of effective prevention and control measures.

The Chinese side, he added, is confident that under Putin's strong leadership, Russia will certainly stem the spread of COVID-19 at an early date, safeguard people's safety and health, and restore economic and social development.

China and Russia are connected by mountains and rivers, and their people share a hearty friendship, Xi said, adding that the Chinese people will bear in mind Russia's all-out assistance at the most difficult moment in China's fight against the epidemic.

He noted that in recent days the team of medical experts dispatched by the Chinese government have been working actively in Moscow, and exchanging experience with their Russian counterparts on how to combat the disease.

China has provided Russia with a batch of assistance and been actively helping Russia purchase anti-epidemic medical supplies in China, Xi said, adding that China will continue offering the northern neighbor firm support.

The Chinese president expressed his gratitude for the active efforts Russia has made for Chinese nationals in Russia, saying he believes that Russia will, as always, protect Chinese nationals' normal work and life on its soil.

He stressed that politicizing and labeling of the COVID-19 pandemic are detrimental to international cooperation, and suggested that China and Russia work together to jointly safeguard global public health security.

Noting that bilateral trade in the first quarter this year increased 3.4 percent year on year, Xi pointed out that the expansion is especially valuable against the background of the overall downward trend in the world economy.

China and Russia should explore new flexible and diverse forms of cooperation amid regularized epidemic prevention and control measures, so as to continuously push forward bilateral cooperation, Xi said.

He said he is confident that through the test of the pandemic, China-Russia strategic coordination will grow more resilient and robust, and the friendship between the two peoples will become stronger than before.

For his part, Putin said the Chinese government and people, united as one, have made important achievements in preventing and controlling the coronavirus outbreak, and are providing support and assistance for many other countries fighting the disease.

Since the epidemic broke out, Russia and China have always adhered to solidarity, cooperation and mutual support, which demonstrates the strategic nature and high level of Russia-China relations, he added.

The attempts by some people to smear China on the origin of the novel coronavirus are unacceptable, stressed the Russian president.

Russia, he said, stands ready to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China in various areas, including COVID-19 containment, and enhance bilateral communication and collaboration within such frameworks as the United Nations.

The two heads of state also agreed to continue to maintain close contact through flexible and diverse means.