China voices support to WHO, ASEAN amid COVID-19 pandemic
Updated 10:05, 25-Apr-2020

China highlighted how essential the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) is in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, pledging continued support to the international organization.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks when speaking with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on the phone on Friday.

Wang said certain countries take advantage of the pandemic for their own political purpose and attempt to shift the blame to the WHO for their slow response to the outbreak.

"It's a very inhumane act, which puts them on the side of the virus and makes them the enemies of human beings," Wang said.

Gunawardena praised China's firm support to the WHO, saying China supports developing countries, including Sri Lanka, by supporting the UN body. Sri Lanka will firmly stand with China in supporting the WHO to play a bigger role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wang also held a phone talk on Friday with Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Lim Jock Hoi over cooperation on fighting against COVID-19.

Wang appreciated the efforts from ASEAN countries for their support in fighting the pandemic. Noting that next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relations, Wang said that China stands ready to take it as an opportunity to lift bilateral relations to a new level.

A special summit of ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN Plus Three or APT) on COVID-19 was held earlier this month via video conference. At the summit, China emphasized the awareness of a community with a shared future for mankind and announced to provide another 100 million face masks, 10 million protective suits and other urgently needed medical supplies to support ASEAN countries.

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Li Keqiang stresses cooperation against COVID-19 in East Asia

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs the summit of the ASEAN Plus Three countries on COVID-19, April 14, 2020. /CCTV

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs the summit of the ASEAN Plus Three countries on COVID-19, April 14, 2020. /CCTV

Wang said China is willing to work with all parties to implement the outcomes of the meeting, explore the establishment of regional joint prevention and control, share experience in prevention and treatment, and cooperate in the research and development of drugs and vaccines.

China will continue to provide anti-epidemic supplies to ASEAN countries based on their needs and support ASEAN in setting up a COVID-19 response fund, Wang said.

He highlighted ASEAN's role in restoring economic and social order in the region, hoping that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) can be signed at an early date so as to continuously promote the regional economic integration, Wang said.

Both parties also agreed with the essential and indispensable role of the WHO in the fight against the pandemic, stressing that any actions that defame the WHO and undermine global cooperation are unacceptable and should be condemned.

For his part, Lim expressed appreciation for China's assistance and support for ASEAN's anti-epidemic efforts.

He called for solidarity of the international community at this critical moment, saying that ASEAN stands ready for further coordination and cooperation with China.