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Premier Li Keqiang Attends the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19

On the afternoon of 14 April, Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, attended the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 in Beijing. He was joined by leaders of the ten ASEAN countries, President Moon Jae-in of the ROK, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization, and ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Viet Nam chaired the Summit.

In his remarks, Premier Li noted that with more than 200 countries and regions affected to date, COVID-19 is gravely threatening the health, safety and life of people around the world and is putting the global economy under severe strain.

At the recent Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit, President Xi Jinping highlighted the imperative for the international community to strengthen confidence, act in unity and make a collective response by comprehensively stepping up international cooperation.

APT countries need to build greater awareness of our community with a shared future and send a message of partnership, solidarity and mutual assistance to secure an early victory against COVID-19 in East Asia.

Premier Li pointed out that in responding to the outbreak, the Chinese government has consistently adhered a people-centered approach, adhered to the principles of shoring up confidence, strengthening unity, following a science-based approach and taking targeted measures, and has all along been open and transparent.

So far China has achieved major progress in containing the outbreak, and life and work is returning to normal at a faster pace in the country. Going forward, China will keep up the control measures to forestall a resurgence of infection. Any complacency in this regard would be misplaced. In the face of an epidemic of such magnitude, the fortunes of all countries are closely inter-connected; no country can handle the disease all by itself.

Premier Li put forward China's proposals on APT cooperation in fighting the outbreak.

First, APT countries need to enhance all-round epidemic cooperation and build up public health capacity.

To curb the spread of the virus, coordination and collaboration among APT countries need to be strengthened. China will continue to do its best to help ASEAN countries through grant assistance and via commercial channels, and China proposed the setting-up of an APT reserve of essential medical supplies.

APT countries also need to support WHO in playing a leading role, and work together to safeguard regional and global public health security.

Second, APT countries need to revitalize economic growth and deepen regional economic integration.

APT countries need to further ease tariffs, eliminate barriers, boost the flow of trade and investment, and keep markets open to each other. They need to maintain the necessary flow of people and goods and stabilize the industrial and supply chains.

APT countries also need to work toward signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement within this year as agreed and endeavor to take regional economic integration to a higher level.

Third, APT countries need to intensify policy coordination to weather all kinds of risks and challenges. They should remain confident about their ability to overcome the financial risks and challenges brought by COVID-19, and serve as an anchor of stability for the region.

We need to make good use of mechanisms such as the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), and support multilateral financial institutions in their effort to ensure adequate liquidity. We should also strive to ensure regional grain supply and market security.

Premier Li stressed that viruses are a common enemy of humanity. The Chinese people will continue to stand side by side with other peoples in East Asia and across the world in navigating these tough times. He expressed confidence that together APT countries will prevail over the epidemic.

The participating leaders share the view that in the face of the unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19, APT countries should carry forward the tradition of cooperation, demonstrate solidarity and join hands in tackling this challenge. It is important to enhance experience and information sharing, conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines, and build up regional mechanisms for epidemic control.

APT countries need to enhance macro economic policy coordination, ensure the smooth functioning of the industrial and supply chains, gradually restore social and economic order, and anchor market confidence. They should make the best effort toward signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement within this year. The relations and cooperation among APT countries will only emerge stronger from defeating the virus.

The Summit was held via video link. A Joint Statement of the Special ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was released after the Summit.

Wang Yi and He Lifeng attended the video conference.

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