SONG CHEN/CHINA DAILY
After the novel coronavirus epidemic broke out, China sincerely cooperated with the international community, and accepted the assistance offered by various governments, international organizations, social groups, private enterprises and friendly people from other countries. China appreciates their goodwill gestures and material help.
From the very beginning, China actively cooperated with the World Health Organization, informed it of the epidemic situation and the measures it was taking, and welcomed the inspection and guidance of WHO experts.
In particular, China offered assistance to more than 150 countries and four international organizations in different ways after its epidemic situation improved, for which it has earned high praise from the WHO, other global organizations and the international community.
Increased support to other nations
China has been continuously increasing its material, technological and professional medical support to other countries. It has also been working hard to produce and supply personal protective equipment and other items which are urgently needed for the global anti-epidemic work. After a conversation over the phone between the heads of state of China and the United States on March 27, the US began purchasing large quantities of anti-epidemic materials from China. And Chinese companies and social organizations such as Huawei became active donors to the US, and China-US cooperation on epidemic prevention entered a new phase.
Notably, the forms of global anti-epidemic cooperation are diverse. The parties involved in cooperation often need to take many factors into consideration and act according to their respective national policies and the current situation. They should do what they can and try to get what they need from different sources.
However, China's participation in the global anti-epidemic fight is not restricted to free material assistance to other countries, as it also includes information exchange, experience sharing, research on medicines including a vaccine, public health facility construction and mutual protection of each other's diaspora.
All the countries, whether developed such as the US or developing like Iran, must participate in the global anti-epidemic cooperation and make use of the collective wisdom and strength of human society to end the scourge of COVID-19.
Outbreak has disrupted economic exchanges
The novel coronavirus pandemic poses a grave threat to the health and safety of people across all countries. In dealing with this "demon", almost all countries have taken extraordinary measures which have seriously disturbed normal life and normal functioning of the economy. Global economic relations and cultural exchanges, the international trade order, the technological progress, and reshaping of the globalization pattern have all suffered due to the pandemic.
The international community is aware of the severity of the global economic situation and the uncertainty created by the strict measures taken by different countries to contain the pandemic. The virus has spread around the word along with general pessimism. At one point, the US stock market had to use five consecutive "circuit breakers" to prevent a crash. And some major grain exporters decided to ban grain exports to prevent food shortages in their own countries. Given these facts, the international community must deepen economic cooperation to the greatest possible extent to fight the epidemic, and promote cooperation on the economic and other fronts.
China is still a developing country. But thanks to its long-standing commitment to providing other developing countries with political support and economic assistance, it has long enjoyed a good reputation as a "natural ally" of other countries irrespective of their size and economic status.
Major force in global fight against poverty
During the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the 2008-09 global financial crisis, China did its best to provide many countries with necessary assistance. It is widely recognized by the international community that China helped not only developing countries but also some developed countries according to its capability. Now, China is working with the rest of the world to tide over the global public health crisis. And in recent years, due to its extensive participation in international poverty-reduction activities, China has become a major force in the global fight against poverty.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced governments of all countries, and many international organizations, to shift their focus to prevention and control measures. Indeed, international economic cooperation, at least in the near future, should be centered on cooperation to fight the pandemic.
The pandemic has also had a big impact on Belt and Road Initiative projects, and domestic enterprises are facing difficulties in resuming full production, getting financial support and hiring new recruits. In addition, their ability and willingness to "go global" to execute overseas contracts, and fulfill their duties and obligations have declined accordingly.
Moreover, many countries are unable to continue promoting large-scale infrastructure construction, and it will be difficult to start new Belt and Road projects. Some forces in the US and the West are exploiting this situation to disparage the Belt and Road Initiative, distort the original intentions of the initiative, give Chinese enterprises a bad name and sow discord between China and its partner countries. As such, the uncertainties and risks in Belt and Road cooperation have increased.
Need to forge ahead with BRI projects
Given that the global epidemic situation is still grim and the world economy has been fractured, it will take time for China to fully restore the domestic economy. Therefore, to boost the Belt and Road Initiative's construction, China needs to forge ahead with confidence, properly assess the situation, adjust measures according to different conditions, seek benefits and avoid losses.
It should also make serious efforts to optimize the quality of projects, improve the level of cooperation, reduce risks, strengthen people-to-people ties, support public health undertakings and summarize and popularize advanced experiences.
The year 2020 is crucial for China's goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the great national rejuvenation. It is also an important year for the international community to start a new round of globalization and make global governance more rational, fair and efficient.