ASEAN, China to enhance public health cooperation, promote building of a community of health for all
 updatetime:2021-05-25 18:32:32   Views:0 Source:People's Daily Online


The Symposium on ASEAN-China Public Health Cooperation was held in Xuzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, on May 21. (Photo provided by the ASEAN-China Centre)

The Symposium on ASEAN-China Public Health Cooperation, jointly organized by the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in China and Xuzhou Municipal People's Government, was held in Xuzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, on May 21. Representatives from 20 countries and international organizations attended the event, sharing their insights on ways to deepen public health cooperation between ASEAN countries and China.

Themed "Cooperation and Development for a Win-Win Future", the symposium discussed ways to strengthen China-ASEAN public health cooperation in fields such as disease prevention and control, talents training, ICT and medical technology, and trade in health and social services.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of ACC. In the face of the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and ASEAN countries have been strengthening collaboration on epidemic control and prevention, bringing the bilateral relationship to a higher level.

Xuzhou, as a key link for the Belt and Road, has successively established friendly relations with several provinces and cities in ASEAN countries. At the opening ceremony, Deputy Mayor of Xuzhou Zhang Ke and Secretary-General of ACC Chen Dehai jointly signed the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Xuzhou Municipal People's Government and the ASEAN-China Center, a move aimed at strengthening the exchanges and cooperation between the two sides in the relevant fields.

Zhou Tiegen, Party Secretary of the CPC Xuzhou Committee, hailed the symposium as an important platform for the city to deepen cooperation with ASEAN countries and RCEP members during his speech at the opening ceremony, noting that Xuzhou is willing to share development opportunities with ASEAN countries, thus contributing to the building of a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.

Djauhari Oratmangun, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia in China, said that dialogue is instrumental in fostering mutual trust and enhancing understanding of public health and sustainable development. Policy makers, public health experts and the healthcare sectors from both sides should have constructive dialogues to accomplish the dual task of pandemic control and economic recovery.

Raja Dato Nushirwan Zainal Abidin, Ambassador of Malaysia in China, acknowledged the mutual support between China and ASEAN countries during the course of the pandemic. "As for Malaysia, to date, different batches of semi-finished Chinese vaccines have arrived in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia becomes the second country of the region to cooperate with China in vaccine filling after Indonesia," Abidin said, adding that ASEAN countries are ready to work closely with China to usher in a brighter future of ASEAN-China relations.

The epidemic has prompted closer public health collaboration between China and ASEAN countries at all levels, said Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. He suggested the two sides continue to promote substantive cooperation, including deepening technical exchanges and professional personnel training, and taking effective measures to resume economic and personnel exchanges.

Secretary-General of ACC Chen Dehai voiced confidence in a closer ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership, which is considered one of the most dynamic and substantive partnerships of ASEAN, noting that ACC is more than willing to make its humble contribution to this partnership. China has accumulated experience in the use of AI, big data, health codes, blockchain and drones in the fight against the pandemic, which could be shared with ASEAN countries and the world, Chen said.

According to Chen Junjie, Counsellor of the Department of Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, both sides have been actively exploring the building of a regional network of "fast tracks" and "green lanes" to facilitate the flow of people as well as the building of an effective system of vaccine cooperation. China would like to work with ASEAN countries to build a China-ASEAN Community of Health for All.

With regard to ASEAN-China public health cooperation since 2020, Lu Shan, Deputy Division Chief of Modern Medicine and Public Health Division, China Biotechology Development Center, said China has carried out clinical trials overseas, including in some ASEAN countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, and China's vaccines have been considered both safe and effective.

Leading Chinese drug maker Sinopharm has supplied 20.138 million sets of protective materials to ASEAN countries and has provided vaccines to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, said Yan Bing, Vice President of the China Sinopharm International Corporation. "Moreover, Sinopharm has actively discussed cooperation projects with many ASEAN countries,” he added.

Meng Weining, Senior Director of Overseas Business of Sinovac Biotech, noted that by May 17, more than 435 million doses of CoronaVac had been distributed globally and its vaccines have been approved for emergency use in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines and Indonesia.

As countries are now more interconnected than they were, regional and global partnership has proven to be an important aspect in addressing the pandemic, said Maria Rosario S. Vergei, Undersecretary of the Health Department of the Philippines. "Pandemic-proofing health systems needs long-term investments and sustainable partnerships, and we hope to continue and strengthen the partnerships with China for the benefit of our countries," said Vergei.

Web Editor:MXJ