China Tuesday called for all countries in Asia, and the world as a whole to join hands in conquering the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Chinese Vice-Health Minister Gao Qiang made the call at a high-level symposium on SARS held for the ASEAN (the Association for Southeast Asian Nations) members and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Gao said the ASEAN members, Japan and the ROK are good neighbors, friends and partners of China and they share many common interests.
Citing the 1997 financial crisis in Southeast Asia as an example, Gao said the SARS is another challenge facing China, ASEAN members and other Asian countries.
Gao expressed the belief that through their concerted efforts in fighting against the SARS, the countries will enjoy more profound friendship, closer cooperation, enhanced consultation and dialogue and better mechanism for common development.
"SARS does not respect state boundaries and to conquer it needsthe joint efforts of the whole mankind," he said. "The Chinese government is responsible not only to the Chinese people but also to the international community. We are ready to take our responsibility, fulfill our obligations and play a constructive role."
The theme of the two-day symposium is to exchange information and experience in SARS prevention and treatment, particularly in issues like epidemiological investigation, clinical treatment, diagnostic reagents and medicine research so as to seek more international cooperation.
Gao said he is convinced that with this symposium, the cooperation in information sharing would be more effective, the researches of SARS diagnostic reagents, vaccines and the rapeutic medicines will be further accelerated, and the regional cooperating mechanism in dealing with public health emergencies will also be boosted.