China is capable and confident it can beat COVID-19: Foreign minister
Updated 21:48, 21-Feb-2020

China has taken effective measures to contain the novel coronavirus epidemic and displayed a responsible attitude, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Laos on Thursday.

"We have taken every possible measure, and very serious action to bring the outbreak under control. We are very effectively controlling the virus spread and that shows that the preventative measures are working." 

A heart-warming video

The meeting began with a video of how Chinese people are united as one in fighting the epidemic. The video also included scenes of the 10 ASEAN country leaders showing their support for China. 

Wang and the foreign ministers of the ten ASEAN countries stood hand in hand to express their support for China and specifically Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

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Wang said that the Chinese people are standing in solidarity in the fight against the novel coronavirus, and the country has implemented the strictest measures to control the epidemic. 

China is capable and confident that it will win the war against the virus, he added.

During the meeting, ASEAN ministers outlined the impact of the virus outbreak on their region, as well as the measures they are taking to contain the spread.

This is the first time China and ASEAN member states have held a multilateral foreign ministers' meeting since the outbreak. The occasion reflected the solidarity and cooperation between the two sides, and also showed ASEAN's support for China's battle against the novel coronavirus.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Laos, February 20, 2020. /

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Laos, February 20, 2020. /

'The epidemic has no borders'

Meanwhile, Wang also called for joint efforts in containing the virus.

"The epidemic has no borders, and the virus is our common enemy. At this moment, we should work together and overcome the challenges, and curb the spread of the epidemic through strengthened cooperation," he said. 

The epidemic is temporary, but the friendship and cooperation between China and ASEAN will last, Wang reaffirmed, calling for both sides to elevate the bilateral ties to a higher level, and build a even stronger China-ASEAN community with a shared future.


In addition, he made the following cooperation proposals:

First, strengthen synergy and joint prevention and control of epidemic diseases. Wang called for more efforts to promote cooperation in the fields of health, quarantine, transportation and the management of national borders.

Second, identify a long-term cooperation mechanism. Establish contact mechanisms between China and ASEAN for handling public health emergencies so as to improve response speed, and establish a China-ASEAN reserve center of materials for epidemic prevention and control.

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Wang also called for a rational and proper response to the virus, turning the crisis into opportunity.

In response, ASEAN foreign ministers lauded the measures China has taken to fight the novel coronavirus, appreciating China for its high level of transparency in releasing epidemic information and its responsible manner.

Voicing confidence in China, the ministers fully recognized the achievements China has made in strengthening regional and international public safety.

The ministers urged the quashing of rumors, in order to avoid normal communication and cooperation being influenced.

During the meeting, China and ASEAN foreign ministers also issued a joint communique on coronavirus disease.

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A joint press conference reinforced the message that China and ASEAN are united in the fight against the coronavirus. 

"There will be some impact on our economy, but it will be temporary and limited. Close cooperation between ASEAN and China will help us overcome this issue and quickly overturn the negative economic impact," Wang noted. 

Laos Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith also told reporters that the ministers have jointly and comprehensively reviewed the efforts and commitments, and charted a future direction to further prevent and respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

"We have also shared with each other best practices, lessons learnt and effective methods in surveillance, detecting and researches," he added.

A day after Foreign Minister Wang's meeting with his ASEAN counterparts, China's ambassador to the ASEAN Deng Xijun said Beijing had taken measures to support enterprises involved in Belt and Road projects, including by helping companies prepare to resume their work overseas in an orderly way.

"China is the number one trading partner of ASEAN for the last 11 years and China is also the main source of tourists and investment …so for sure it will have a negative impact on economic and trade relations," Deng told reporters.

"However, I think this is temporary and short term," he said.

Deng, speaking in Jakarta, said some projects employed many local workers and some Chinese managers had gone "native" and did not return to China for the holidays.