Joint work critical to vanquishing COVID-19
China Daily

To overcome the global challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic, China's envoy to the United Nations called for solidarity, cooperation, mutual support and assistance, while saying "beggar-thy-neighbor or scapegoating will lead us nowhere", and "any acts of stigmatization and politicization must be rejected" out of hand.


Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, speaks at a Security Council meeting about Afghanistan at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, March 10, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)

"Fighting COVID-19 is an urgent task that brooks no delay. I am confident that as long as we face up to the challenge and work as one, the virus will be defeated," Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, said in a briefing during a Security Council video meeting on COVID-19 on Thursday.

China commends the UN and WHO for their leading and coordinating role in this fight, Zhang said, adding that China actively supports the global efforts made by the UN and hopes the international community will diligently respond to the UN's call.

The ambassador stressed that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and with the utmost sense of responsibility for the Chinese people and people of the world, the Chinese government has adopted the most comprehensive, thorough and strict measures of prevention and control. Important results have been achieved at the current stage, he said.

"During the toughest time in China's fight against COVID-19, many countries came forward with sincere help and solid support. We are grateful for the valuable help," he said.

Zhang said China, although facing risks of a coronavirus rebound and imported cases, is doing everything possible to help other countries. China's support will not stop as long as the pandemic continues.

"The COVID-19 pandemic shows once again that people of the world live in a global village and have a shared future," he said.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has taken a series of initiatives, including the launch of the Appeal for a Global Ceasefire, the Global Humanitarian Response Plan and a report on the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19, all in an effort to promote international solidarity and cooperation to fight the pandemic.

Zhang said China supports the secretary-general's appeal for a global cease-fire and called on the council to push for a cessation of hostilities. China also supports the Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

"China therefore calls on countries to increase resource input into this plan, strengthen support for relevant countries and create a 'green corridor' for the sake of safeguarding people's lives," he said.

"At the same time, we also urge countries to respond to the secretary-general's appeal by lifting unilateral sanctions to reduce negative impact on the humanitarian situation," Zhang added.

Echoing Zhang's appeal, a senior Chinese diplomat said that all countries should put people's lives and health first to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights. Speaking at the Virtual Informal Conversation with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Outbreak of COVID-19 and its implications on human rights, Chen Xu-head of the Chinese Mission to the UN Office in Geneva-said that nations should adopt an effective and collective response for the real protection of people's rights to life and health. Noting that the international community should provide aid and support to developing countries in their response to the pandemic, Chen said that countries should immediately lift unilateral sanctions they imposed on some developing countries to prevent additional harm to the people of those countries.

"They should guarantee people's basic needs as well as their economic, social and cultural rights and right to development, and guarantee the rights of women, children, the disabled, the elderly, migrants and other vulnerable groups," Chen added.