Major countries shall work together to enhance global cooperation in fighting COVID-19

COVID-19 is a common challenged faced by all mankind, and only solidarity and cooperation can defeat it.

The international society is looking forward to an early control of the virus in the U.S., as U.S. President Joe Biden recently unveiled the country’s national strategy to cope with the pandemic and signed executive orders to mobilize resources and curb the COVID-19 spread.

The world is also expecting the new administration of the U.S. to enhance solidarity and cooperation with the rest of the world, so as to jointly safeguard global public health security.

The Trump administration shocked the world for its COVID-19 response. It attacked and withdrew from the World Health Organization (WHO) at a critical moment and undermined global health governance system, played political and stigmatizing games by slandering other countries and shifting responsibilities, and forcefully occupied anti-pandemic materials and fanned up the so-called “decoupling” in the name of the pandemic, which seriously threatened the security of global industrial and supply chains.

All these wrongdoing damaged global solidarity and triggered broad criticism. Stephen Walt, professor of international affair with Harvard University once criticized the Trump administration for its “belated, self-centered, haphazard, and tone-deaf response” that ended up costing Americans trillions of dollars and thousands of otherwise preventable deaths. What the administration did also “tarnished the United States’ reputation as a country,” he said.

The U.S. is going through the darkest hours since the pandemic broke out. Around 70,000 Americans lost their lives because of COVID-19 last December alone. The New York Times recently reported that during some weeks this month, the average deaths per day exceeded 3,300, more than the number of people killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The U.S. holds around 4 percent of the world’s population, but its COVID-19 infections and deaths make up 25 percent and 20 percent of the world’s total, respectively. Facing such a fatal crisis, the Americans hope the new administration can turn the table around and enhance cooperation with other countries, so as to play the due role of the country in safeguarding the health of mankind.

As the world’s largest two economies, China-U.S. cooperation in fighting COVID-19 conforms to the interests of the two peoples, and is also a common aspiration of the international society.

In the past, the cooperation between the two countries had made positive contribution to coping with global challenges. After the international financial crisis broke out in 2008, the coordination between them was believed to be a key factor stabilizing the global market. In 2014, when Ebola virus emerged in west Africa, the two countries actively responded as major countries and made important contribution to an early control of the epidemic.

Today, COVID-19 is posing huge challenges to people’s health and lives, and the cooperation between China and the U.S. is what the world hopes to see as it can boost the confidence of the global community in winning the fight.

Former U.S. Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats believes the U.S. administration’s initiative on COVID-19 should include cooperation with China. The cooperation between the two countries’ researchers and scientists on development and production of therapeutic treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19 not only conforms to the interests of the U.S., but also can save lives for other countries, he said.

China has always upheld the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind and been committed to promoting global solidarity and cooperation in fighting the pandemic. China supports its cooperation with the U.S. and offered abundant anti-pandemic materials to the latter. It also facilitated the non-governmental cooperation between the two countries to defeat the virus. Between March 1 last year and Jan. 10 this year, China offered, through exportation or donation, more than 42 billion masks, 900 million pairs of surgical gloves, 780 million protective suits, 50.66 million pairs of goggles and nearly 16,000 respirators to the U.S. Sister provinces and cities, friendly societies, non-government organizations and enterprises also donated massive medical materials to the U.S.

China welcomes the Biden administration’s decision to halt U.S. withdrawal from the WHO, and has reiterated that it is willing to enhance anti-pandemic cooperation with the U.S. and other countries. The country always believes that only by cooperation can mankind’s health be safeguarded, and the victory of the global fight against COVID-19 cannot be achieved until the virus is eliminated in the last country.

As the Chinese saying goes, a wise man changes as time and event change. Facing global challenges, major countries should uphold the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and demonstrate their due wisdom and responsibilities.

China is willing to enhance anti-pandemic cooperation with other countries, including the U.S., and offer assistance and support for the U.S. in fighting the pandemic within its capacity. If the U.S. can pick up its cooperation spirit and meet China halfway, it would be  conducive to not only enhancing the wellbeing of the two peoples, but also strengthening the global health governance system, which will finally help the world walk out of the shadow of COVID-19 as early as possible.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)