“Winter is not that cold with friendship and support from our friends”: China’s Foreign Minister

Friday, 21 February 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

 State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi

On 19 February, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the dinner of the China-ASEAN Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Fifth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane, Laos. 

Wang Yi said: “It is of special significance for us to gather here today. The Chinese people are now working in unity to fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The epidemic is a sudden attack on the Chinese people, which has spread so rapidly. However, we have not flinched, even less been knocked down by it. Under the personal command of President Xi Jinping, the 1.4 billion Chinese people, united as one, have established a nationwide response system and mobilised national resources to launch an overall people’s battle against the virus.

“After painstaking efforts, the situation is now changing. Though Wuhan in Hubei Province is still the hardest hit area of the epidemic, the outbreak has been now effectively contained. Heartening news keep coming from all the other parts of China outside Hubei. For example, the number of infected cases has declined for 15 consecutive days, while the number of cured and discharged patients has been rising. As of yesterday, more than 14,000 people had been cured and discharged from hospital. 

“Yesterday was of great significance, because for the first time, the number of people cured and discharged from hospital exceeded the number of people diagnosed on that day. These figures indicating possible turning points show that although the epidemic is ferocious, it is controllable and curable. Mankind has evolved through the struggle against all kinds of viruses and epidemics, and China has developed through overcoming various difficulties and obstacles. We have the confidence and determination to eventually triumph over the epidemic at an early date.

“Virus is a common enemy of mankind and calls for collective responses by the international community. Facing the epidemic, China is not fighting alone. Instead, we have received understanding and support of countries around the world. To date, leaders of more than 160 countries and 30 international organisations have sent letters or telegrams to express their firm support to China.

“China and ASEAN are linked by mountains and rivers and are closely intertwined, just like the Lancang River and the Mekong River. We are a family and a community with a shared future. Friends from ASEAN countries have stood firmly with China from the very beginning. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen changed his schedule to pay a special visit to China, which is a telling example that a friend in need is a friend indeed. The Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha made a video in person to convey the deep friendship between Thailand and China. We have also seen that the Indonesian local police and Malaysian singers have shown their support to the Chinese people in various ways. Vietnam, as the chair of ASEAN, issued a chairman’s statement expressing its full support for China’s fight against the epidemic, representing the common ground of ASEAN countries. 

“Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith has made good arrangements for the two important meetings tomorrow in such a short notice. As the country coordinator of ASEAN-China relations, the Philippines has done a lot of liaison and coordination work within ASEAN. All the ASEAN friends have made positive contribution to tomorrow’s meetings.”

Wang Yi emphasised that the friendship and support from ASEAN and the international community had strengthened their confidence in prevailing over the epidemic and made them feel that this winter was s not that cold and spring was coming. “I believe tomorrow’s meetings will be a success, which will not only further promote LMC cooperation and build the LMC Economic Development Belt, but also send a clear and firm signal to the world that China and ASEAN will work hand in hand to combat the epidemic, safeguard the health of people of all countries, and promote regional health security. I am convinced that after being tested by the epidemic, the relations between China and ASEAN and between China and ASEAN countries will be further deepened and elevated.”