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FM: China, Austria should support WHO's due role in global fight against COVID-19

Updated: Apr 30,2020 08:55 AM    Xinhua

BEIJING — China and Austria should support and encourage the World Health Organization (WHO) to play its due role in the global fight against COVID-19, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a phone conversation with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg on April 28.

As the coronavirus outbreak is spreading across the world, it is the only right choice for all countries to join in the fight against the virus in solidarity and cooperation, Wang said.

When China was confronting the epidemic challenge, Austria provided help, which China will always keep in mind, said Wang, adding that China is willing to continue to provide urgently-needed medical supplies and facilitate Austria's procurement and transportation needs in China.

Noting that next year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Austria, Wang said both sides should take it as an important opportunity to jointly plan and arrange celebrating activities.

Wang expressed the belief that emerging from the joint fight against the pandemic, the friendly strategic partnership between China and Austria will be further strengthened.

Under the leadership of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Austria took the lead among European countries to take decisive and firm measures and achieved positive results, he said, expressing China's congratulation to Austria for having generally put the epidemic situation under control and taken steady steps to restart work and production and to restore economic and social order.

As COVID-19 response continues on a regular basis, the two countries should enhance information and experience sharing, establish express channels for the flow of essential personnel, and explore effective ways to stabilize industrial and supply chains, the minister said.

Global anti-pandemic cooperation requires the expertise of the World Health Organization (WHO), in particular the WHO's help and support for African countries with vulnerable public health systems, Wang said.

The WHO was unfairly attacked and smeared recently, Wang said.

Claiming that whoever pays more should dictate terms to the WHO is out of a typical hegemony mindset while threatening with defunding in case of disagreement demonstrates the arrogance of certain major power, he said.

With the democratization of international relations, international affairs should be handled through negotiations among countries rather than decided by a few major powers, he said, adding that China and Austria should support and encourage the WHO to play its due role in the global fight against the outbreak.

For his part, Schallenberg said that questioning the role and legitimacy of the WHO is out of sync with the time when the global community is faced with the priority to fight the COVID-19 pandemic with a concerted response.

Noting that the virus is a common challenge facing all nations, Schallenberg said that Austria and China have consolidated and further developed their ties in the fight against the pandemic.

The two countries helped each other to the best of their own capacity at each other's most difficult time, said Schallenberg, expressing Austria's heart-felt appreciation to China for providing medical supplies and facilitating its purchase needs.

With the epidemic situation relatively under control, Austria and China should enhance mutual learning, ensure essential personnel exchanges and steadily restore social and economic order, said Schallenberg.

The two sides should also make good preparations for celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties next year so as to usher bilateral relations to a new phase, he added.