June 22, 2020
Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Ambassador Hu Zhangliang has told the media that, the Extraordinary Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 was a concrete step to deliver the commitment made at the FOCAC Beijing Summit held in South Africa.
Hu Zhangliang updated the Sierra Leone media on the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 through an online press conference on Friday, June 19th.
The Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 was held virtually on June 17, 2020.
The summit was jointly initiated by Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa who is also the current Chairman of African Union and Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal which is also the current co-chair of FOCAC, 11 other heads of state and government of African countries that are members of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union and rotating chairs of Africa’s major sub-regional organizations, as well as the Chairperson of the AU Commission attended the summit upon invitation.
António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, graced the meeting as special guests.
Addressing the media in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Hu reiterated that the summit was a solid step in“building an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future”.
“It is a boost for cooperation between China and Africa in fighting COVID-19. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC. In the next stage, China will continue to actively implement the relevant measures proposed at the Extraordinary Summit, help African countries including Sierra Leone fight against the pandemic within our capacity,” he said.
He called on the Sierra Leone media to continue playing an active role in delivering the true messages of cooperation between China and Sierra Leone and between China and Africa in various fields, especially in the fight against COVID-19.
“Let’s work together to contribute to the new development of China-Sierra Leone and China-Africa friendship,” he said.
He said despite the challenges, the cooperation between China and Sierra Leone remains intact, with the implementation of major projects in Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Hu noted that as the pandemic continues to afflict the world, including the African continent, convening the extraordinary summit at this crucial moment once again demonstrates the China-Africa brotherhood through thick and thin.
“It will help consolidate the consensus between China and Africa on solidarity against the virus and promote fresh development in China-Africa cooperation, and inject new impetus to support multilateralism and boost international cooperation against COVID-19.The Summit was efficient, pragmatic, productive and highly successful and it was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere,” he said.
Ambassador Hu cited that President Xi Jinping pointed out in his keynote speech that, in the face of COVID-19, China and Africa have offered mutual support and fought shoulder to shoulder with each other.
He said President Xi had told his counterparts that China and Africa have enhanced solidarity and strengthened friendship and mutual trust, and that China’s commitment to its longstanding friendship with Africa will never change.
“No matter how the international landscape may evolve, China shall never waver in its determination to pursue greater solidarity and cooperation with Africa,” he quoted President Xi.
He said President Xi Jinping had told African leaders that, COVID-19 is still affecting many parts of the world and that both China and Africa face the formidable task of combating the virus while stabilizing the economy and protecting people’s livelihoods.
He said President Xi called on African leaders to always “put our people and their lives front and center. We must mobilize necessary resources, stick together in collaboration, and do whatever it takes to protect people’s lives and health and minimize the fallout of COVID-19.”
He cited some of the important initiatives and proposals put forward in the keynote speech of President Xi, calling on China and Africa to stay committed to fighting COVID-19 together.
He said President Xi Jinping had pointed out that, China will continue to do whatever it can to support Africa’s response to COVID-19 and that China will continue to help African countries by providing supplies, sending expert teams, and facilitating Africa’s procurement of medical items in China.
He continues that President Xi had promised that China will start ahead of schedule the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters this year and that China will work with Africa to fully deliver the health care initiative adopted at the FOCAC Beijing Summit.
He further informed the media in Sierra Leone that the President of the Asian giant pledged that once the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit.
Ambassador Hu told the media that President Xi Jinping had called on China and Africa to stay committed to enhancing cooperation.
“H.E. President Xi Jinping stressed that, to cushion the impact of COVID-19, it is important to strengthen Belt and Road cooperation and accelerate the follow-ups to the FOCAC Beijing Summit. Greater priority needs to be given to cooperation on public health, economic reopening, and people’s livelihood. While taking measures such as debt relief and suspension, China will continue to carry out relevant cooperation to boost Africa’s development and revitalization,” he said.
The top Chinese diplomat in Sierra Leone told the press that President Xi had further called on China and Africa to stay committed to upholding multilateralism.
“H.E. President Xi Jinping said that, in the face of COVID-19, solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon. China will work with Africa to uphold the UN-centered global governance system and support WHO in making greater contribution to the global COVID-19 response. China and Africa should oppose politicization and stigmatization of COVID-19, oppose racial discrimination and ideological bias and stand firm for equity and justice in the world,” he said.
He said President had noted that China and Africa must stay committed to taking their friendship forward.
He cited that President had stated in his speech that the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century and that given the new opportunities and challenges they face, closer cooperation between China and Africa is needed, more than ever.
President Xi further noted that China and Africa need to support each other on issues involving the respective core interests, and advance the fundamental interests of China and Africa and, for that matter, of all developing countries, adding that through that way, China and Africa will be able to take the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to a greater height.
Ambassador Hu observes that the above initiatives and proposals demonstrate the firm determination of China to work with Africa to “defeat COVID-19 with solidarity and cooperation”.
“They point the way forward for epidemic response and practical cooperation between China and Africa, chart the course for the future of China-Africa relations, and unleash strong, positive energy for the international community to secure an early victory against COVID-19 through solidarity and cooperation,” he said.
He echoed that leaders who participated in the summit all noted the special significance of the Extraordinary Summit convened at a time when the coronavirus is affecting Africa and many parts of the world.
“They described the Summit as another strong testimony to the close, resilient friendship between Africa and China. They underlined that China and African countries have long stood by each other through thick and thin. They affirmed that Africa deeply appreciates China’s valuable assistance and help in its COVID-19 response, including providing medical supplies, technologies and experience sharing. They noted that in the face of the virus, no country is superior to others or can beat it alone. Only when humanity work in solidarity and collaboration and respect each other can the disease be ultimately defeated. They agreed that the disease is a global crisis of an unprecedented scale, which is only to be defeated when the community of nations enhance solidarity, uphold multilateralism and support the work of the WHO and other international organizations,” said Ambassador Hu.
He informed the press that the leaders also applauded China’s exemplary efforts in helping Africa beat the virus and recover economy, ‘saying that China’s concrete help to Africa has once again proven it as an all-weather friend and good partner.
“The African leaders reaffirmed their firm commitment to the Africa-China comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. They are ready to build an Africa-China community of health for all, and a community with a shared future for mankind. The long-standing friendship between Africa and China will last forever.”
He said a joint statement of the Extraordinary Summit was issued summarizing the important consensus reached.
“The major points include: (1) China and Africa are determined to deepen friendship and strengthen mutual support as they work toward an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future. (2) The two sides will enhance solidarity and cooperation, and support the UN and the WHO in leading and coordinating their joint efforts to fight COVID-19. (3) The two sides will scale up implementation of the follow-ups to the FOCAC Beijing Summit and give greater priority to public health, economic reopening and people’s well-being. (4) China and Africa will uphold multilateralism, reject politicization of COVID-19 and safeguard international equity and justice.(5) China supports African countries in exploring development paths suited to their national conditions and opposes interference in Africa’s internal affairs by external forces, supports Africa in implementing its “Silencing the Guns” campaign and urge for an early lifting of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and Sudan.(6) The African side firmly supports China’s position on Taiwan and Hong Kong, and supports China’s efforts to safeguard national security in Hong Kong in accordance with law.”