China firmly supports UN, WHO's leading role in fighting COVID-19
Updated 09:45, 17-Apr-2020

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, on Thursday reaffirmed the country's firm support for the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO) to play a leading role in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent to President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and permanent representatives of UN member states, Zhang said China has firmly supported the UN in playing a leading role and coordinating international cooperation to fight the virus since the outbreak.

"As a UN specialized agency responsible for public health matters, the WHO plays a crucial role in epidemic response," he added. "Under the leadership of Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO upholds a science-based, objective and unbiased stance and provides active guidance and assistance to countries around the world, making important contributions to international cooperation against epidemics."

Zhang stressed that China has been updating the WHO "in an open, transparent and responsible manner."

"After the outbreak of COVID-19, China immediately reported to the WHO, shared with it and the international community the genetic sequence and China's prevention and treatment experience without reservation," he said.

Read more:

China publishes timeline of international COVID-19 cooperation

Xi replies to WHO chief's letter, stresses joint efforts on COVID-19

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference on the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Geneva, Switzerland, March 16, 2020. /Reuters

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference on the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Geneva, Switzerland, March 16, 2020. /Reuters

China urged the United States on Wednesday to fulfill its obligations to the WHO after U.S. President Donald Trump halted funding to the body over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China has donated 20 million U.S. dollars to the UN body and will continue to provide support and assistance to the organization within its ability.

"China firmly opposes any attempt to weaken the WHO, whose role is indispensable at this crucial stage," Zhang wrote in the letter.

The ambassador also underlined China's active role in contributing to the UN Security Council's response to the pandemic, noting that the country has shown support to more than 130 countries.

"China provided medical supplies, shared experience, sent expert teams and assisted with commercial procurement," he said.

The "virus knows no borders or races. No country can wall itself off from its impact," the envoy said, urging countries across the world to work together.

"Blame-shifting and scapegoating will not help focus on pandemic response, but only divides the international community and jeopardizes international anti-epidemic cooperation," he continued. "We firmly oppose such wrong acts as labeling, politicizing and stigmatizing, a position shared by the international community.

Zhang said the pandemic "has driven home the urgency and imperative of building a community with a shared future for humanity," calling for "solidarity and mutual assistance" to overcome the crisis.

(Cover: China's Permanent Representative to the UN Zhang Jun briefs the media on China's measures to combat the novel coronavirus at the UN headquarters in New York, January 30, 2020. /Xinhua)