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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open Video Conference on the Fight against COVID-19

2020/09/09

Mr. President,

I thank USG DiCarlo, USG Lacroix, and USG Lowcock for their briefings.

On 1 July, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2532, which echoes the Secretary General's appeal for a global ceasefire, reiterates the shared commitment of the international community to fight the pandemic, and sends out a strong message of support for multilateralism, the United Nations and the WHO.

China appreciates the tremendous efforts made by the Secretariat to implement this resolution. We are encouraged by the progress, such as the sustained ceasefire in Columbia, Sudan and South Sudan, the peace agreement initialed by the Sudanese transitional government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), the Hamas-Israel agreement on de-escalation, and the willingness of relevant parties in Libya to stop fighting. All these positive developments have created windows of opportunity for advancing relevant political processes.

China also appreciates the measures taken by UN Peacekeeping Operations to support national authorities in containing the pandemic. MINUSMA, MONUSCO and UNMISS, among others, provided medical materials and organized awareness-raising campaigns for host countries. Meanwhile, the ongoing efforts to protect peacekeepers' health and safety, such as strengthening treatment facilities and raising testing capacity is also commendable.

The WHO plays an indispensable role in combating the pandemic in conflict-affected countries. It helped Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan establish isolation and treatment facilities, provided medical supplies, and conducted training for health workers. China highly appreciates and fully supports the WHO's efforts.

This said, we have to admit challenges remain in implementing the resolution. Some ceasefire commitments are conditional. Some ceasefire deals have been seriously violated. Political progress remains slow after ceasefires in some places. Humanitarian assistance, which is badly needed in conflict-affected countries, still has a huge funding gap. We are worried and concerned about these difficulties.

Mr. Presidnet,

Today, COVID-19 is still raging across the world, and some countries are seeing a rebound and even a looming second wave. Nothing is more important and urgent than combating virus, containing pandemic, saving lives and restoring peace. China calls on all parties to fully implement resolution 2532 to achieve a global ceasefire and step up efforts to fight against the pandemic.

First, hostilities should be ceased to achieve lasting peace. Parties to conflicts should put aside animosity, lay down their arms, and stop fighting immediately and unconditionally. In countries or regions where ceasefires have been reached, the Security Council, the SESGs and relevant peacekeeping operations should seize the opportunity to push forward the political process and create conditions for reconciliation and lasting peace.

Second, life should be put first and foremost and humanitarian assistance be increased. To mitigate the pandemic's impact on fragile countries and fragile peoples, we should support the WHO in playing a leading role in the fight against COVID-19, support the WHO and the ICRC and other agencies in conducting their work in conflict-affected countries. The Global Humanitarian Response Plan still has a funding gap of 7.95 million dollars. Substantive inputs from the international community are badly needed.

To truly safeguard life and health of peacekeepers, the member states and the Secretariat should fully implement Security Council resolution 2518.

Third, unilateral sanctions should be lifted to lessen the sufferings of affected peoples. The pandemic is a natural disaster, while unilateral sanction is a man-made one. Unilateral sanctions seriously undermine the capacity of targeted countries in responding to the pandemic, and exacerbate the suffering of innocent civilians, especially women and children.

We urge relevant countries to immediately lift unilateral coercive measures out of humanitarian consideration, in responding to the appeal of the Secretary-General and the international community. We encourage the Secretariat to assess the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on targeted countries, and the Security Council to explore ways to tackle it based on the assessment.

Fourth, place equal emphasis on ceasefires and containing the pandemic, and promote peace by development. Conflict-affected countries are the weakest link in this fight. The pandemic could reverse the peacebuilding and development gains made by conflict-affected countries, plunge them into conflicts with larger scale and greater depth. The international community should help conflict-affected countries keep economy and society running while fighting the pandemic, help them advance peacebuilding process while engaging in humanitarian pause, so as to seek for a lasting peace by accelerating development and eradicating the root causes of conflict.

Mr. President,

The pandemic reminds us once again that the wellbeing and future of all countries are interconnected. Solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon in the global fight against COVID-19. The practices of politicization, labeling, stigmatization, selfishness, calling white black and blame-shifting will backfire. They can not save lives, nor can they contain the pandemic. They can only bring more troubles.

Countries should respect science, increase trust, take up responsibilities, and join hands with each other to fight the pandemic and build a community of health for all.

In the spirit of putting people's lives first, nationwide solidarity, sacrifice, respecting science and a sense of mission for humanity, China prevents and contains the pandemic in a comprehensive, prompt and effective manner. China not only cares about the life and health of its own people, but also the global public health. To promote international cooperation and support the global fight against the pandemic, China has sent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries, provided 283 batches of anti-epidemic supplies to 150 countries and 4 international organizations, and exported medical supplies to more than 200 countries.

Last week, at the G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting, China launched an initiative to facilitate cross-border flow of people and goods, and proposed an international mechanism on mutual recognition of COVID-related health certification. We look forward to forming and implementing these schemes and are ready to contribute to the revitalization of world economy.

President Xi Jinping announced at the World Health Assembly in May that COVID-19 vaccine, when developed and deployed in China and available, will be made a global public good, and shared with other countries through various channels.

During this pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. To make the vaccines accessible to everyone is the only way to realize universal health. We should stick to win-win concept rather than zero-sum mentality. Vaccines should not be stockpiled or monopolized, should not be used to benefit oneself at the sacrifice of others, nor it can be used as political tools. We hope to see countries cooperate with each other to advance vaccines development and production, and make vaccines accessible and affordable to all.

China is ready to join hands with other countries to implement the resolution 2532, form a united front against the pandemic, and build a community of shared future for mankind.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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