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Wu Xi

Ambassador Wu Xi has been China’s Ambassador to New Zealand since 2018. She has previously served in Iraq and Australia and was most recently Deputy Chief of Mission at China’s Embassy in Washington DC, USA. POLITIK has agreed to publish this article contributed by the Ambassador.

 

Take Up the Weapon of Solidarity and Cooperation to address the challenges together 

The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to the humankind since World War II. The world is again at a crossroad. The pandemic not only has a huge impact on global health security, but also global production, supply and demand, which could lead to a world economic recession. It is a global crisis that requires the international community to combine our efforts and overcome the crisis together.

But certain countries continue to use the pandemic to stigmatize China and scapegoating, creating all kinds of lies, trying to provoke confrontation between ideology, social system and trade policies. This will lead the world to a dangerous zone. We have now two choices before us: Cooperation and Co-existence or Confrontation and Divided. Our choices made today will decide the future for mankind.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out during his recent remarks at the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly, mankind is a community with a shared future, solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus. China takes it as its responsibility to ensure not just the life and health of its own citizens, but also global public health.

For this reason, China will provide US$2 billion over two years to help with COVID-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries. China will work with the UN to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, ensure the operation of anti-epidemic supply chains and foster “green corridors” for fast-track transportation and customs clearance. China will establish a cooperation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and accelerate the building of the Africa CDC headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity. China will make COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, a global public good and will ensure vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. China will work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries. China is also ready to work with the international community to bolster support for the hardest-hit countries under the greatest strain of debt service, so that they could tide over the current difficulties.

Relations at crossroads

The spirit of unity and cooperation also applies to China NZ relations, which is also at a crossroads. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and NZ have made many “firsts” in our bilateral relationship. The key to that is our commitment to cooperation, and most importantly, mutual respect. Principles like one-China policy should be firmly abided by. We should draw on the experience from the past and seize the opportunity ahead, deepen and expand our practical cooperation, so as to bring more benefits to our two peoples, and make greater contributions to regional and global prosperity and stability.

Demand for NZ products likely to increase

As the first pier of countries successfully put the epidemic under control, both China and NZ have a common interest to work together and put our economy and social development back on track. China’s demand for high-quality products from New Zealand is still there and is likely to increase significantly after the pandemic. The prospect of economic and trade cooperation between China and New Zealand is even broader. New Zealand has launched a large-scale economic response plan to promote the recovery of the economy, in which Chinese enterprises can also make some contribution. 

Expand co-operation

We should strengthen peer-to-peer exchanges in various fields of cooperation, study the impacts of the pandemic on related industries, and work together to figure out feasible ways to restore and deepen cooperation. We should take the full advantage of the upgrade of China-NZ Free Trade Agreement, to expand our cooperation in new areas such as health care, quality food, e-commerce, online education, online tourism and etc. We should tap the potential of Southern Link under Belt and Road Initiative to build NZ a hub between Asia and South America. We should explore fiscal and financial cooperation in the bilateral transactions, in order to better serve the bilateral trade and hedge the uncertainty of the international financial market. We should also send out a strong voice in supporting multilateralism and free trade system, in order to maintain the stability and smoothness of global industrial chain and supply chain, and maintain the healthy development of globalization.

Comprehensive strategic partners

As comprehensive strategic partners, China and NZ should continue to maintain strategic commitment in difficult times, support each other on issues concerning their core interests and major concerns, oppose politicizing the pandemic, promote practical cooperation in various fields, and jointly send to the international community a message of solidarity and a positive signal that we are in this battle together.

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