China says it contributed to global public health & made sacrifices to contain Covid-19 outbreak
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China has dealt with the crisis in a 'transparent manner' since the start.
China has contributed to global public health and made plenty of sacrifices in its effort to contain the Covid-19, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Reuters in an interview on Friday, Feb. 14, in Berlin, Germany.
Responsible and transparent from the beginning
In response to a question if China feels that it is facing a crisis of confidence, in view of the travel restrictions that certain countries have placed on it, Wang expressed his belief that his country’s successful handling of the Covid-19 outbreak has strengthened the world’s trust towards it.
He reiterated that “as a responsible major country”, it has acted in “an open and transparent manner” from the start by releasing relevant information to the world and seeking international cooperation to prevent the spread of the outbreak.
In addition, he stressed that the number of confirmed cases outside China is “less than 1 percent of the total”, and that China has not only contributed to global public health, but has also made sacrifices in the process.
Wang also said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has “on multiple occasions commended China for its responsible actions”, and spoke highly of its “decisive response”.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has defended China’s response to the outbreak, despite criticisms towards Chinese President Xi Jinping’s management of the crisis.
According to official figures by the Chinese authorities, there are 68,584 confirmed cases in mainland China as of the end of Sunday, Feb. 16, with the death toll standing at 1,665 (1,666 including one in Hong Kong).
Some countries “overreacted”
Addressing the travel restrictions that countries such as the United States, Russia, Australia and Singapore have placed on China, he said “the enhanced inspection measures taken by some countries are reasonable”.
However, he added that “some other countries have overreacted”.
“Their overreaction has caused unnecessary panic and is not consistent with the WHO recommendations,” he added.
Wang was referring to the U.S., which was the first country to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan, adding that China hopes the U.S. could rethink its travel advisory against China and “respect WHO’s professional advice”.
Wang emphasised that “virus respects no borders” as well, saying “a collective response from the international community” is required to tackle it.
Dismissed criticisms towards China as “lies”
Separately, Wang said at the Munich Security Conference that criticisms by the U.S. aimed at China “are lies, not based on facts”.
Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, in reassuring his country’s European partners who are concerned over the U.S. perceived waning role in Europe, had proclaimed that Western values would eventually prevail over Chinese and Russian desires for “empire”, Reuters reported.
U.S. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper had also accused Beijing of “nefarious activity” through telecommunications firm Huawei.
Virus outbreak a “challenge”, but China has “withstood the test” under Xi
Wang also acknowledged that the Covid-19 outbreak is a challenge for “both China and the world at large”.
However, he said the Chinese government have “withstood the test and won the respect and recognition of the international community” with its efforts under the leadership of Xi.
Calling the fight against the virus outbreak a “people’s war” — a term first used by Xi in early February — Wang reiterated that only under Xi’s leadership can there be “such effective measures to put this sudden and fast spreading epidemic under control”.
Economy to stay strong
Wang also stressed that the Covid-19 outbreak’s impact on China’s economy is limited, saying that “the Chinese market is big enough to withstand the impact of the epidemic, which is temporary”.
Xi had previously warned top officials in the country on Feb. 3 that efforts to contain the Covid-19 are “harming the economy”, urging them to refrain from “more restrictive measures”, Reuters reported, citing two anonymous sources familiar with the meeting.
Top image via China’s Foreign Ministry