Editors Note: The following article was written by His Excellency Zhang Lizhong, the Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives. The article is recorded here as originally written. No changes have been made in phraseology, structure or punctuation.
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly in Maldives. With the number of infected people and confirmed cases increasing, pressure has mounted on the Maldivian government and the public for its prevention and control efforts. China empathizes with the difficulties faced by the Maldivian side and has taken a series of assistance measures. The Chinese government and enterprises are taking actions. BUCG, CCCC, CMEC, Dongfang Electric, China Merchants Group, Huawei, Alibaba and some other well-known Chinese enterprises will soon jointly organize a chartered flight to provide a batch of most-needed medical materials including ventilators, test kits and N95 masks to Maldives. After Yunnan Province donated a batch of medical supplies previously, Guangxi Autonomous Region and Suzhou City, the Sister City&Province of Male’, will also donate medical supplies to Maldives. I believe these assistance will help enhance the capability of the Maldivian government to combat the pandemic. I also believe that under the strong leadership of President Solih and with the joint efforts of all sectors of the Maldivian community, the Maldivian people will overcome the pandemic at an early date.
Sharing weal and woe and supporting each other is the fine tradition of China-Maldives relations. Overcoming the difficulties with joint efforts is the common aspiration of the two peoples. At the juncture of crisis, our two governments and peoples stand firmly together, which demonstrates the true spirit of mutual care and sincere friendship once again. At the critical moment of China’s fight against the pandemic, President Solih sent a letter of condolences to President Xi Jinping and announced to donate 1 million tuna cans to China. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Shahid and expressed firm support to the Maldivian side. Through these joint efforts of fighting against the pandemic, the time-tested China-Maldives relations will come out much stronger and more enduring.
We need to turn the crisis into opportunity, take a long-term perspective and further deepen our cooperation. We need to strengthen the cooperation of epidemic prevention and control as well as health care, and redouble our efforts in policy coordination, experience sharing and personnel training so as to promote the welfare of the people. During the fight against the pandemic, we need to continue to promote major cooperation projects, in particular the Belt and Road Initiative projects. We need a plan for the future and focus particularly on the much-needed projects and ensure the people will get benefits from these livelihood projects. In addition, there is still enormous space of cooperation in such fields as tourism, agriculture, planting, trade to be explored.
President Xi Jinping pointed out that China appreciates the valuable understanding and support from the international community. Such expressions of friendship will always be remembered and cherished by the Chinese people. The Chinese are grateful people who always reciprocate kindness. China has been supporting the global response to COVID-19 as its ability permits.
The pandemic once again shows that ensuring public health security is a common challenge for mankind, and severe infectious diseases are an enemy of all. Countries need to come together to comprehensively step up international cooperation and foster greater synergy. Viruses respect no borders and pandemics do not distinguish between races. Mankind is a community with a shared future. With solidarity and mutual assistance, the international community will prevail over this pandemic.
The solidarity and cooperation between China and Maldives to tide over the difficulties will surely become an important part of the efforts of the international community to fight the pandemic and build a community with a shared future for mankind. I am confident that through the pandemic, China-Maldives friendship will get stronger, our cooperation will become more solid and China-Maldives relations will embrace a new chapter featuring sustained and rapid development.