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State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Attends the Extraordinary Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs

2020/04/28

On the evening of 28 April, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the Extraordinary Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. The meeting, held via video link, was chaired by Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia, the BRICS Chair this year, and attended by Foreign Minister Araújo of Brazil, Foreign Minister Jaishankar of India and Foreign Minister Pandor of South Africa.

Wang noted that COVID-19 has put lives and health of people around the world under grave threat, seriously disrupted the flow of people worldwide and the global economy. However, COVID-19 will not change the theme of the times which remains peace and development; it will not cut short the historical trend toward multi-polarity and globalization, and still less will it deter humankind from its firm pursuit of civilization and progress. It is imperative for BRICS countries to make right choices and take forceful actions. By doing this, we will overcome the difficulties, and mankind will defeat the virus.

First, we should uphold multilateralism and improve global governance. We must stand firm by multilateralism, champion the approach of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits in governance, and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests and space for development not just for ourselves but also for all other emerging market and developing countries. We need to enhance coordination on macro economic policies to curb recession, create jobs, protect livelihoods, stabilize the global economy and keep up secure and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains.

Second, we should come together in the spirit of partnership to jointly combat COVID-19. With extraordinary efforts and sacrifices, the Chinese government and people curbed the spread of the virus to other parts of the world, providing useful experience for global response and boosting confidence in defeating the virus. China will never forget the valuable support given by other countries at the toughest moment of its fight against the disease and is doing everything it can to help those in need. China is ready to step up the sharing of information and experience with BRICS countries and conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines on the basis of respecting each other's sovereignty and national conditions.

Third, we should uphold unity and coordination to forge a powerful synergy. China's commitment to international anti-epidemic cooperation is inspired by humanitarianism; it has no ideological agenda, and is still less driven by selfish geopolitical interests. As countries battle the disease in light of their own situations, China calls for mutual understanding and respect for these efforts. The global community should never be distracted in its collaborative response by finger-pointing or the blame game, still less should we allow new tensions and divisions to be created as a result of politicization or stigmatization. The World Health Organization (WHO) is indispensable for helping developing countries, African countries in particular, in fighting the disease. Supporting the WHO helps us save more lives and enables a more effective response against the virus. BRICS countries need to support the WHO and relevant UN agencies in playing their due role in fighting the disease, enhance global public health governance, and work together to build a community of health for all.

Fourth, we should keep forging ahead with BRICS cooperation. China supports Russia's Chairmanship and Russia's initiative to formulate a Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025. We need to devise new models of cooperation and discover new potential of cooperation as we develop the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR). We also need to make full use of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, and continue to enhance people-to-people exchanges.

Wang also shared China's measures and position on supporting the containment efforts of developing countries, especially countries in Africa.

During the meeting, the five foreign ministers had an in-depth exchange of views on upholding multilateralism, jointly combating the disease and deepening BRICS cooperation. All parties agree that COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis to the lives and health of mankind and to the economic and social development of the world. BRICS countries must uphold multilateralism, enhance unity and coordination, step up the sharing of information and experience and conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines to enable a more effective response against the virus, safeguard global public health security and minimize the negative impact caused by the disease. While further advancing BRICS cooperation in areas of economy, political security and people-to-people exchanges, the five countries need to make public health cooperation a higher priority. Most BRICS countries condemn the practices of politicizing and stigmatizing the virus, oppose the attempts to undermine the WHO's role and believe that discrediting the WHO or even suspending funding support will severely disrupt the global endeavor to jointly fight the virus and especially to help African countries in their response efforts. All parties need to firmly support the WHO and relevant UN agencies in playing a leading role in global anti-epidemic cooperation.

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