On May 12, 2020, China and Caribbean countries, having diplomatic relations, held a special vice-ministerial meeting on COVID-19 via video link.
Representatives from China and nine Caribbean countries including The Bahamas attended the meeting.
The participants held in-depth exchanges over issues including domestic COVID-19 situation and response; China-Caribbean cooperation in fighting the pandemic and the two sides’ coordination and cooperation in related international affairs.
Meeting attendees reached wide consensus and issued a joint press release.
All sides expressed readiness to enhance cooperation in prevention and control; to jointly uphold global health security; firmly objected to politicizing, stigmatizing and labeling practices under the pretext of the pandemic and expressed their support for WHO’s leading role in the international cooperation in fighting the pandemic.
Caribbean countries reiterated their commitment to the One-China principle and to mutual support with China on matters concerning each others’ core interests and major concerns. Undoubtedly, at a crucial juncture in the global fight against COVID-19, this meeting was of great significance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought serious challenges to China, the Caribbean and countries all over the world.
Tens of thousands of affected patients worldwide have lost their lives.
The world’s economic and social development has been impacted heavily.
Since the outbreak began, the Chinese government has acted with a strong sense of responsibility to the world, and put in place the most comprehensive and strictest measures to prevent and contain the epidemic.
China has achieved major strategic results in the COVID-19 containment.
At present, on the one hand, China continues to step up epidemic prevention and control, and prevent imported infections and epidemic rebound at home. And on the other hand, it also speeds up the orderly resumption of work and production, to restore normal order of production and life as soon as possible.
While fighting off the virus with strength, China has shared its control and clinical experience with the WHO and the international community without reservation, in an open, transparent and responsible manner. China has been doing all it could to provide assistance and stayed actively engaged in international cooperation, with an aim to firmly protect the life and health of Chinese people and people all over the world.
In the fight against COVID-19, China and Caribbean countries have been supporting and assisting each other, adding a new chapter to China-Caribbean friendship.
In difficult times for China to fight the epidemic, many Caribbean countries expressed their sympathy and support to China.
China has organized two video conferences to share relevant information and experience, and provided material and technical assistance to the Caribbean countries. So far, China has provided three batches of medical supplies to The Bahamas.
China will continue to firmly support the Caribbean countries in their fight against COVID-19 and stands ready to further help Caribbean countries, including The Bahamas, as its ability permits. Meanwhile, China will actively expand practical cooperation with all countries in trade, investment and other fields, and strengthen communication and coordination in international and regional organizations, so as to jointly elevate bilateral relations to a new level.
Since mid March, The Bahamian government has taken strict containment measures, which have yielded obvious positive results.
We believe that with the joint efforts of the government and people, The Bahamas will defeat the pandemic and restore normal production and livelihood.
Although the COVID-19 has been contained to a certain extend in China and some Caribbean countries, it continues to spread in many regions of the world.
The COVID-19 knows no border and is the common enemy of all mankind.
Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapon for the international community to defeat the pandemic.
Recently, some politicians of a certain country have tried to politicize the epidemic, label the virus and attack and smear China in order to shift the blame for their own inadequate epidemic response.
Such moves are not helpful for COVID-19 response at either the national or global levels.
The outbreak is a fresh reminder that mankind rises and falls together and must therefore look out for each other and marshal a collective response to global challenges.
I am confident that with the joint efforts of the international community, we will be able to tide over the difficulties, defeat the virus at an early date and protect the health and safety of the people around the world.
• Huang Qinguo is the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.