On May 13, 2020, China and Pacific Island Countries held a special meeting on COVID-19 via video link co-chaired by Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang of China and Foreign Minister Patrick Pruaitch of Papua New Guinea co-chaired the meeting.
Samoa was represented by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peseta Noumea Simi. Fiji, Vanuatu, The Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Solomon Islands, and Kiribati were the other Pacific Island Countries (PICs) in attendance.
Both sides reviewed the progress made in the relationship between China and Pacific Island Countries in recent years, especially since President Xi Jinping met with PIC Leaders in 2018, and agreed to maintain strategic partnership on the basis of mutual respect and common development.
A press release states that China and the PICs in attendance recognised the importance of the special meeting held amidst the fight against COVID-19.
“It is of unique significance for the two sides’ joint response to the virus”.
“COVID-19 is a grave threat which has afflicted the people of China, Pacific Island Countries and other parts of the world and dealt a serious blow to the economic and social development of countries”.
China’s timely approach and response measures were commended by the PICs as transparent and responsible; noting also that China has openly shared its containment experience.
The PICs spoke highly of the “China-Pacific Island Countries Joint COVID-19 Response Fund” established by China and expressed gratitude for the medical supplies provided by the Chinese Central government, Guangdong Province and various sectors across the Chinese society.
China appreciated Pacific Island Countries for their support and help, and commited to continue to help the Pacific Island Countries to the best of its ability.
“China understands the severe impact of COVID-19 on Pacific Island Countries and calls on the international community to fully accommodate Pacific Island Countries’ concerns and needs”.
Participants expressed deep condolences for lives lost to the virus, conveyed sincere sympathies to patients and families, and paid tribute to health workers fighting at the front line.
Both sides shared the view that the virus, which respects no borders, is a common enemy of humanity.
“Countries need to advocate multilateralism, adopt a science-based approach, increase information sharing and coordination of policies and actions, oppose any attempt at stigmatisation, politicising or labeling the virus”.
There was also a commitment to support the role of the World Health Organization in promoting global cooperation against COVID-19, and strive for an early victory in the fight against the disease.
Both sides agreed to maintain and strengthen their mutual support and coordination in global and regional affairs, jointly maintain the UN-centered international system, stay committed to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and safeguard the legitimate rights, interests and development space of developing countries.
Recognising the long road to recovery, both sides affirmed their commitment to advancing practical cooperation in the “post COVID-19 era” by exploring new ways and tapping new potentials of cooperation so as to bring about greater progress in China-Pacific Island Countries relations, and deliver more benefits to its citizens.