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UN envoy condemns virus 'scapegoating'

By HONG XIAO at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-04-10 11:34

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, speaks at a Security Council meeting about Afghanistan at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, March 10, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

To overcome this global challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic, China's envoy to the United Nations called for solidarity, cooperation, mutual support and assistance, while "beggar-thy-neighbor or scapegoating will lead us nowhere", and "any acts of stigmatization and politicization must be rejected".

"Fighting COVID-19 is an urgent task that brooks no delay. I am confident that as long as we face up to the challenge and work as one, the virus will be defeated," Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, said in a briefing during a Security Council video meeting on COVID-19 on Thursday.

Zhang said the COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge. The numbers of confirmed cases and deaths around the world indicate that the global peak of infections has yet to come, which is "indeed worrying".

China commends the UN and WHO for their leading and coordinating role in this fight, Zhang said, adding that China actively supports the global effort made by the UN and hopes the international community will diligently respond to the UN's call by coming together in order to win this battle as soon as possible.

The ambassador stressed that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and with the utmost sense of responsibility for the Chinese people and people of the world, the Chinese government has adopted the most comprehensive, thorough and strict measures of prevention and control. Important results have been achieved at the current stage, he said.

"During the toughest time in China's fight against COVID-19, many countries came forward with sincere help and solid support. We are grateful for the valuable help," he said.

Zhang said China, although facing risks of a coronavirus rebound and imported cases, is doing everything possible to help other countries.

China has provided support of various forms to more than 100 countries, including all those on the agenda of the Security Council. It has sent medical supplies, shared experiences, sent expert teams and assisted with commercial procurement, Zhang said.

Zhang said China's support will not stop as long as the pandemic continues.

"The COVID-19 pandemic shows once again that people of the world live in a global village and have a shared future," he said.

"What China has gone through proves that defeating the outbreak is possible as long as national governments demonstrate strong leadership and formulate and execute right policies and strategies, and the people pull together and act for the greater good," he added.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has taken a series of initiatives, including the launch of the Appeal for Global Ceasefire, the Global Humanitarian Response Plan and the Report on Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19, all in an effort to promote international solidarity and cooperation to fight the pandemic.

Zhang said China supports the secretary-general's appeal for a global ceasefire and called on the council to push for cessation of hostilities as "the virus knows no borders, race, fraction or faith.It is a common enemy of mankind", he said.

Zhang pointed out that vulnerable states and populations are the hardest hit in this crisis.

Healthcare systems are inadequate in conflict countries and the less developed ones. Special attention and assistance should be given to African countries, he said.

Zhang said China supports the Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

"China hence calls on countries to increase resource input to this plan, strengthen support to relevant countries and create a 'green corridor' for the sake of safeguarding people's lives," Zhang said.

"At the same time, we also urge relevant countries will respond to the secretary-general's appeal by lifting unilateral sanctions to reduce negative impact on the humanitarian situation," he added.

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