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Yue Xiaoyong: Solidarity for Global Cooperation is the Key in Winning the Battle Against the COVID-19 and for Economic Recovery

The global solidarity to enhance cooperation among all nations is “the most powerful tool to combat the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak”. This is the central and consistent message expressed at recent 73rd World Health Assembly of WHO when all delegates adopted a landmark resolution to bring the world together to fight the COVID-19. Solidarity for global cooperation is also the only way for the on-going efforts on countries across the world in their economic recovery in the moment, coming months and perhaps years ahead. The resolution in the assembly calls for the intensification of efforts to control the pandemic and for equitable access to and fair distribution of all essential health technologies and products to combat the virus. It is also very important that the resolution emphasizing the critical role played by the WHO in global efforts of battling against the coronavirus.

Many countries and media in the world noticed the result with praise and commanded the achievement of the conference, even New York Time for example, wrote next day that representatives of the organization’s member nations “rallied around the WHO at its annual meeting in Geneva, largely ignoring Mr. Trump’s demand for an overhaul and calling for a global show of support, which left the United States isolated as officials from China, Russia and the European Union chided Mr. Trump’s heated rhetoric.”

Unity for enhancing global cooperation is in fact also the most important message the most members of G20 group tried successfully to deliver when they came to the video Summit conference on 26 March 2020 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The summit statement stresses that the virus respects no borders, combating this pandemic calls for a transparent, robust, coordinated, large-scale and science-based “global response in the spirit of solidarity”. The statement emphasizes that all members commits to full support and further strengthening the WHO’s mandate in coordinating the international fight against the pandemic, safeguarding the global economy, addressing international trade disruption and helping and supporting the emerging and developing countries; and that all countries should strengthen cooperation to maintain the world economy, handling forcefully with the disturbances caused by the pandemic on global trade, reduce shocks and harms the COVID-19 outbreak incurred and to take joined measures to restore the stability of the global economy.

That is also the message the Chinese Government and people got from video conferences between China and over 170 countries to share our proven protocols of diagnosis, treatment, and control without any reservation. As Mr. Wang Yi put it in his press conference during the National People’s Congress that in providing assistance, the Chinese people have but one goal, that is to save as many lives as possible and early end of global pandemic.

Yet some few politicians in some countries, the United States for example, insist on disrespecting the strong consensus of international community for solidarity with cooperation and would keep on deflecting their own responsibility fighting the virus to others, especially China which has done so much to support and help countries all over the world in combatting the outbreak. In the sessions of the United Nations Security Council in recent months for instance, every time when answering calls from most members of the Council or the Assembly to discuss how to better strengthen global combat against the pandemic, the United States would be found isolated when it began to smear other member nations, politicize the virus fighting or repeatedly push for using country or city names to label the virus, which has been clearly rejected long ago by the world community as well as WHO as wrong and groundless. Early April this year all 14 members of the Security Council except one voted against UNSC resolution draft suggesting to use “Wuhan virus” or “China virus” proposed by the American side, and such situation and alignment have remained ever since in other similar discussions.

Good and ever growing trends are that more peoples are voicing their views for strong calls for countries big or small in the world, and especially those larger ones that are capable with better industrial, scientific research or development and medication capabilities, to work with the rest of the world and focus on the urgent endeavor for winning the battle as well as to join hands with each other to support and help the weaker and poorer in economic recovery and relieving hardship caused by the outbreak, no matter that it is for vaccine or effective drug development or better experience in the handling the combat and recover business. They also stressed that all countries strengthen their exchanges and mutual learning of valuable experiences in their national handling of this virus crisis. There is solid reason to believe it is already global consensus except for very few ones that to expand and deepen international exchanges and cooperation in humanity’s fight against the pandemic and to oppose ourselves to politicize the virus battling or deflecting responsibilities to others. Just as WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on 8th of May in response to President Trump threatening to withhold United States’ money from the WHO: “The goal of all countries should be to save their people. Don’t politicized this virus...No need to use VOVID to score political points.”

Thomas L. Friedman, senior Opinion Columnist in the United States and three times Pulitzer Prize winner, has repeatedly stressed that policies of China “have proven effective in containing the virus” and in his 10th of May comment again gives merits to China’s approach of locking down and then opening its economy with strict social distancing, masks everywhere and highly intrusive testing, tracing and quarantining anyone with the coronavirus to prevent further spread. Every country has indeed its own real situation and would develop their own way in handling the outbreak. Yet the sober, balanced, and constructive discussion Thomas’s article shows is what is really called for to have better global exchanges and cooperation for effective and sooner solution to the pandemic crisis for all.

As of this writing, the global situation of the COVID-19 is still worsening and dire, the total cases reached over 5.4 million according to the data of WHO by 24th of May with deaths of over 343 thousand. Total cases in America has amounted over to 2.45 million with deaths of 143 thousand mostly in the United States and in Europe reached 2.04 million, with deaths of over 173 thousand. In Africa the cases are growing fast to 83,044 with daily increase of over 2,000 and total deaths of 2,214. While most states in America and most countries in Europe are understandably opening their economy, how to avoid flaring up or second surge of the outbreak and strike the fine balance between economic recovery and stopping the pandemic spreading is a real challenge for all. The mission for winning the battle is still daunting. It is indeed shocking and inconceivable that at this juncture of moment some few ones in the United States shall continue to threaten to leave WHO organization, to continue to play as obstruction and impediment of the unity for global cooperation and deflect its responsibility to any one they can lay blame on.

The Chinese people and government are staunch supporters for further strengthen international solidarity and cooperation with the rest of the world, including the cooperation between Chinese and American peoples. The government of China has among other actions announced a further 2 billion US dollars over two years to assist COVID-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries. Our economic recovery efforts in China, though with many challenges, will surely move ahead with real achievements as this year’s Chinese National People’s Congress shows, which will certainly serve a great drive for the global recovery. Both the Chinese people and the government are keeping on doing everything in the capability to support and help with peoples and nations in need.

In spite of all those challenges either from Mather Nature or those man-made “political virus” of some politicians in very few countries, which should really be guarded against by nations of the world, humanity can still be reasonably optimistic, based on the global consensus reached for unity for enhanced global cooperation, that in the final analysis humankind can surely surmount current hardships, difficulties and challenges while taking it also as an unprecedented opportunity to be both more humble and confident for the future humanity evolution. This pandemic outbreak has made the world again realize humankind has a shared future and destiny living in the one earth and one global community.

Just as President Xi Jinping put it in his video presentation during recent 73rd World Health Assembly of WHO that mankind is a community with a shared future: Solidarity is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. This is the key lesson the world has learned from fighting HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Avian Influenza, Influenza A(H1N1) and other major epidemics. And solidarity and cooperation are a sure way through which we, the people of the world, can defeat this novel coronavirus.

It is also a sure way our global community can win back the recovery of our world economy.

(Based on the presentation in recent international video conference by the author.)

Dr. Yue Xiaoyong: Senior Researcher and Director of Global Study Center of the National Academy of Development, RUC