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Chinese FM talks with ASEAN secretary-general by phone on COVID-19

(Xinhua)    12:02, April 25, 2020

BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday held a phone talk with Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Lim Jock Hoi over the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Since the onset of COVID-19, China and ASEAN, as friendly neighbors, have joined hands to fight the pandemic with mutual support and help, which shows the strategic importance of the China-ASEAN relations, Wang said.

China appreciates the efforts the ASEAN Secretariat and the secretary-general made to promote regional anti-epidemic cooperation, said Wang, adding that next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relations, and China stands ready to take it as an opportunity to lift bilateral relations to a new level.

Leaders from ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea have successfully held a meeting on combating COVID-19 and reached important consensuses, sending a positive message that East Asian countries will overcome the difficulties by sticking together through thick and thin, Wang said.

Wang said China is willing to work with all parties to implement the outcomes of the meeting, unite as one to form a joint force, explore the establishment of regional joint prevention and control, share experience in prevention and treatment, and cooperate in the research and development of drug and vaccine.

China will continue to provide anti-epidemic supplies to ASEAN countries based on their needs and support ASEAN in setting up a COVID-19 response fund, Wang said.

While strictly preventing and controlling the epidemic, China and ASEAN should take measures to gradually restore normal economic and social order, maintain the necessary flow of people and logistics, maintain the stability of the regional industrial chain and supply chain, and support the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at an early date, so as to continuously promote the regional economic integration, Wang said.

Wang stressed that the role of the World Health Organization is essential and indispensable as countries across the world are battling the coronavirus.

Any actions that defame the WHO and undermine global cooperation are unacceptable and should be condemned, Wang said.

China will work with ASEAN to jointly support the WHO's leading role in combating the epidemic, Wang added.

China has established mature and stable relations with ASEAN countries, Wang said, adding that any issue can be properly handled through dialogue on an equal footing and friendly consultations.

The attempt by certain outside forces to sow discord among China and ASEAN countries will not be supported and is doomed to fail, Wang said.

For his part, Lim expressed appreciation for China's assistance and support for ASEAN's anti-epidemic efforts.

He said ASEAN stands ready to closely coordinate with China to implement the outcomes of the special meeting of leaders from ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea on COVID-19 in order to jointly win the battle against COVID-19 as soon as possible, promote recovery and development of the economy, push forward sustainable interconnectivity and be committed to reach the RCEP deal on time.

At this critical moment, the international community should act in solidarity, Lim added.

The WHO is playing an important role, especially for developing countries, and it should be firmly supported, he said.

ASEAN and China will mark the 30th anniversary of their dialogue relations, he said, adding that the bilateral ties are developing well and enjoying broad prospects.

ASEAN is willing to expand cooperation with China in various fields and promote their relationship to a new and higher level, Lim said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Bianji)

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