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Wang and Portuguese counterpart slam politicization of COVID-19

By Mo Jingxi | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-24 07:53

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at the first round of strategic dialogue at the foreign ministers' level in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, with Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva, on July 23, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said that studies of the origins of COVID-19 should be carried out by upholding the spirit of science and professionalism, and anything that politicizes the origin-tracing work or the World Health Organization should be opposed.

Speaking with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi as they held the first round of strategic dialogue at the foreign ministerial level on Thursday, Silva said that science and politics have their respective boundaries and the studies of origins should not target or blame specific countries.

The purpose of origin-tracing is to better deal with the situation in the future, Silva said, according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry after the dialogue.

Silva's remarks were the latest call stressing that the study of the origins of the virus should be a matter of science. Already, 55 countries have submitted letters to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opposing some countries' politicization of the issue.

Silva also expressed condolences to China over the severe flooding in Henan province.

Hailing the long-standing friendship between Portugal and China, he said that the Portuguese market will always welcome Chinese enterprises and hopes to further cement ties between the two sides and deepen cooperation in the post-pandemic era.

Since both countries are staunch supporters of multilateralism and firmly uphold an international system with the United Nations at its core, Silva said his country stands ready to further strengthen coordination with China in international affairs.

The Portuguese side supports the European Union and China to expand consensuses and boost cooperation in trade and economics as well as global issues such as climate change, he added.

During their virtual meeting, Wang said that studying origins of COVID-19 is a serious issue of science, noting the necessity of international cooperation on origin-tracing on the basis of facts and science.

He said he hoped the two countries will jointly oppose political manipulation under the pretext of origin-tracing and uphold solidarity in fighting the virus.

Noting that vaccines are the most powerful weapon to win the battle against the pandemic, Wang said China has been actively providing vaccines to countries in need. So far, more than 600 million doses of vaccines have been provided.

China stands ready to promote cooperation with Portugal and other European countries in the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs as well as their fair distribution, in a move to reject "vaccine nationalism", Wang said.

Regarding the China-EU relationship, he stressed that China always supports European integration and its practice of strategic autonomy. The Chinese side believes that a united, stable and prosperous EU is in the interests of all European countries and the international community as well, he said.

Wang added that the unilateral sanctions imposed by the EU against China do not conform with the two sides' comprehensive strategic partnership and the Chinese side has to respond with justified and necessary moves.

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