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State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Speaks by Phone with ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi

2020-04-24

On 24 April, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone call with ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi.

Wang noted the mutual support and assistance between China and ASEAN as close neighbors and friends in their fight against COVID-19, which fully demonstrates the strategic nature of China-ASEAN relations. China commends the work of the ASEAN Secretariat and the Secretary General on regional cooperation against the virus. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. China is ready to work with ASEAN to elevate this relationship to a still higher level.

Recalling the Special ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit on COVID-19, Wang said that the Summit concluded with a number of important agreements and sent a positive message of East Asian countries standing together to overcome the challenge. China will work with fellow countries to follow through on the outcomes of the Summit and mount a united and joint response to the virus. Parties may discuss and explore the way to enhance inter-agency response at the regional level, share experience on containment, diagnosis and therapeutics, and conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines. China will continue to provide medical supplies to ASEAN countries in light of their needs and support ASEAN in setting up a COVID-19 ASEAN response fund.

Wang stressed that efforts should be made to gradually restore normal social and economic order, maintain the necessary flow of people and goods and stabilize the industrial and supply chains in the region without compromising the COVID-19 response. He also called for joint efforts toward signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement at an earlier date to push for new progress in regional economic integration.

Wang underscored the essential and indispensable role of WHO as countries around the world race against death to beat the virus. Actions to discredit WHO and undermine international cooperation cannot be accepted and should be morally condemned. China will work with ASEAN to jointly support WHO's leading role in the battle against COVID-19.

Wang also noted the mature and stable relations between China and ASEAN countries. As each other's strategic and cooperative partners, the two sides can properly handle any issue through equal-footed dialogue and friendly consultation. The attempts of outside forces to sow discord between China and ASEAN countries will find no support nor succeed.

Lim expressed appreciation for China's assistance and support for ASEAN's response against COVID-19. He said ASEAN stands ready to closely coordinate with China to follow through on the outcomes of the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 to achieve an early victory over the virus, enable economic recovery and promote sustainable connectivity. ASEAN is committed to the scheduled conclusion of RCEP. At this critical moment, the international community should work together and act in solidarity. WHO plays a vitally important role in this regard, particularly for developing countries, and deserves firm support. The 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations is approaching. The relationship is in excellent shape and enjoys broad prospects. ASEAN is ready to work with China to expand cooperation and elevate the relationship to a new and higher level.

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