Strengthening Solidarity and Cooperation to Build a Better Future Together
Remarks by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Global Town Hall on “Rebuilding from the COVID-19 World”
Beijing, 20 November 2020
Your Excellency Chairman Dino Patti Djalal,
I am pleased to be invited to the Global Town Hall today and join you in this important discussion on “Rebuilding from the COVID-19 World”.
The outgoing year of 2020 will make its mark in human history. The sudden onslaught of COVID-19 shocked the world in every possible way. In less than a year, international travel has virtually come to a halt. Trade has notably contracted. Global economy is mired in a deep recession. And political and social turbulence has exacerbated in some countries. The impact of COVID-19, compounded with major changes unseen in a century, has brought the international situation to a new watershed.
Yet it is by overcoming tribulations and crises one after another that humanity emerges stronger and makes greater progress. As President Xi Jinping stated at this year’s UN General Assembly, the courage, resolve and compassion demonstrated by humanity in the face of this major disaster has lit the dark hour. The virus will be defeated, and humanity will win. To contain the raging virus and plan for the post-COVID world, countries need to draw experience and lessons from the disaster, build consensus and strength through collective response, and work together to usher in a better future for humanity.
We believe that countries need to fight for an early victory against COVID-19 through enhanced solidarity and cooperation. The coronavirus is still wreaking havoc worldwide. Some countries are seeing an even more ferocious resurgence than the earlier outbreaks. No one can stay immune from the crisis, and we are all in this together.
As one of the first countries to effectively contain the coronavirus, China will continue to leverage its strengths to advance international cooperation on epidemic response, and share its experience on containment and treatment with other countries. We will continue to provide support and assistance to countries and regions in need, and deliver our solemn commitment of making COVID-19 vaccines a global public good. We will continue to fully engage with the World Health Organization and other parties, and actively pursue a global community of health for all.
We believe that countries need to improve the global governance system through strengthened multilateral coordination. This once-in-a-century pandemic once again tells us that no country can solve its own problems through a beggar-thy-neighbor policy or zero-sum approach. And such practices offer no solution to global challenges either. Multilateral governance may not be perfect, but it provides the basic framework for tackling global challenges. Multilateralism may have been challenged, but it remains the basic guarantee for countries to survive and thrive.
As a responsible major country, China will continue to advocate and practice multilateralism, firmly uphold the UN-centered international system, and firmly defend the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the UN Charter. Meanwhile, under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, we will continue to work with all countries to promote necessary reform and improvement of the global governance system, so that it can balance equity and efficiency more properly, respond to global challenges more quickly and effectively, and better reflect the justified and legitimate demands of emerging markets and developing countries. All this will make the global governance system more equitable, reasonable, inclusive and beneficial for all.
We believe that countries need to promote global economic recovery through greater openness and integration. What has happened shows that COVID-19 cannot and will not stop the prevailing trend toward economic globalization or regional integration. Seeking “decoupling” or “erecting walls” is self-destructive in the long run. Retreating to isolationism and protectionism is anachronistic. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), formally signed a few days ago, marked the establishment of the world’s largest free trade area. With concrete actions, participating countries have sent a clear message of their shared commitment to openness and cooperation.
As a major economy in the world, while keeping COVID-19 response measures in place, China will continue to work with other countries to improve “fast tracks” and “green lanes” for the movement of people and goods, and keep the global supply chain stable. China will stay committed to the win-win strategy of opening-up, and build a new and open economic system of higher standard. It will strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries bilaterally and under multilateral mechanisms, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and contribute its share to the early recovery of the global economy.
We believe that countries need to safeguard peace and development in their regions through enhanced dialogue and mutual trust. East Asia, our shared home, is the most vibrant region in the world with the biggest development potential. The hard-won peace and stability of East Asia should not be taken for granted. Attempts to create division and confrontation and to form exclusive geopolitical blocs in the region would give rise to great security risks.
As a responsible country in East Asia, China will remain guided by its neighborhood policy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. In promoting cooperation, China will continue to advocate the spirit of mutual respect, the principle of openness and inclusiveness, and a development-centered approach. It will firmly support ASEAN centrality, and stay committed to properly handling disputes with countries concerned through dialogue and consultation. It stands ready to work with ASEAN countries to safeguard regional peace and stability, and work with the whole international community to build a post-COVID world that enjoys lasting peace, prosperity, stability, and fairness and justice.
Winter is always followed by Spring, and dark night will be brightened up by the light of dawn. We are confident that if all countries truly come together and forge ahead side by side, our world will emerge from the pandemic more prosperous, and that humanity will embrace a better future. In conclusion, I wish the Global Town Hall a full success! Thank you!