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Wang Yi: China Makes Five "Firsts" in Global COVID-19 Response

On September 14, 2021 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi jointly met the press with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Singapore. A reporter asked about what China had specifically done for the response of the globe, particularly regional countries, to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the context that China and the international community looked out for and helped each other through the hard times from the outbreak of the pandemic and China made positive contributions to the global solidarity against COVID-19, as epitomized by China-Singapore cooperation against the pandemic.

Wang Yi said, China always believes that the pandemic knows no borders and that the virus is a common enemy of humanity. Facing the "war without smoke", China has always taken on its responsibilities, cooperated with the international community on all fronts and made "five firsts".

First, China has been the first country to share infection information and exchange anti-virus experience with all parties. With an open, transparent, and responsible attitude, China has promptly informed the World Health Organization and relevant countries of the cases, publicized the genome sequencing of the virus at the first opportunity, and shared actual experience in prevention and control. Based on the accurate data provided by the Chinese side, Singapore quickly developed COVID-19 testing kits. Based on the diagnostic and treatment plans introduced by the Chinese side, a large number of patients were treated timely and effectively.

Second, China has been the first country to provide other countries with large batches of anti-pandemic supplies. With the virus spreading, China has launched a global emergency humanitarian campaign of a scale unseen since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. As of early September, China provided more than 200 countries and jurisdictions with such supplies as masks, protective suits and testing kits, and also facilitated their purchases of anti-virus products, which totaled to approximately 320 billion-plus masks, 3.9 billion protective suits and 5.6 billion testing kits according to preliminary statistics. We also did our best to provide the globe, particularly our neighboring countries, with raw materials of anti-virus supplies, and assisted them in setting up several virus testing laboratories. All these efforts have underpinned and strengthened the regional and global virus battle.

Third, China has been the first country to provide developing countries with large-scale vaccine assistance. China has already provided more than 1.1 billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to over 100 countries worldwide and the COVAX facility. It is planning to provide two billion vaccine doses in the course of this year, which has no problem at all. Besides, China has built or is building bulk vaccine filling bases in 15 countries to turn them into local vaccine production centers. China has honored President Xi Jinping's solemn promise of making vaccines a global public good with practical actions, and in particular, made important contributions to vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. China has also initiated the "China-ASEAN Vaccine Friends" cooperation, under which a total of 360 million doses of various vaccines were provided to ASEAN countries. At this very moment, millions of Chinese vaccines are being shipped to ASEAN countries by various means of transportation.

Fourth, China has been the first country to send medical expert teams to foreign countries. China has dispatched 37 groups of anti-pandemic medical experts to 34 countries on all continents, mostly countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese experts conducted in-depth exchanges with local colleagues and also gave them full cooperation. Some Chinese experts even engaged themselves in front-line diagnosis and treatment directly, becoming "angels in white" who pooled efforts to save lives.

Fifth, China has been the first country to propose the building of a global community of health for all. President Xi Jinping put forward this major initiative as early as in March 2020, pointing the way forward for China's participation in global cooperation against COVID-19 and building the consensus that the international community should fight the virus in solidarity. China has launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation, including 10 ASEAN countries and other 21 countries. China has also convened the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation, in an effort to drive the establishment of cooperation mechanisms between the international community and vaccine producers and promote the fair distribution of vaccines worldwide. China's ideas, initiatives and concrete actions mentioned above have been recognized and responded to by all parties, laying a foundation for building a global community of health for all.

Wang Yi underlined, China has no geopolitical or strategic intentions in or does not seek any economic interests from its international cooperation against COVID-19. And, there have never been any political conditions attached to such cooperation. The global virus battle is still far from over. China will uphold the common values of humanity and the aspiration for universal harmony, work with developing countries on the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and cooperate with neighboring countries by following the guideline that advocates amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and continue to make contributions within its capacity to the global COVID-19 response and sustainable economic recovery.

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