China is in talks with nations including South Korea and Singapore about setting up "fast-track lanes" for key business and technical personnel to travel across borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.
"The aim is to stabilize the country's important trade and business cooperation with relevant countries and guarantee the smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains while curbing the contagion's spread," he said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Geng said China and South Korea have reached consensus in principle on establishing such a fast-track arrangement, and they are discussing a detailed implementation plan.
In an earlier China-Singapore virtual joint meeting on COVID-19, the two nations agreed to discuss better access for necessary personnel while safeguarding public health, he said.
Last month, China announced a temporary suspension of most entry into the country by foreigners and a significant reduction of international passenger flights to help prevent imported novel coronavirus cases.
On Tuesday, Geng also stressed the importance of deepening multilateral cooperation to jointly cope with the disease, following a statement from the Group of 77-the main group of developing countries at the United Nations－and China. It expressed support for the World Health Organization in the pandemic fight.
Some other nations and international organizations like the United Nations and the European Union also expressed support for the WHO's critical role in dealing with the outbreak and strengthening the building of the global public health system, Geng said.
Commenting on Washington's recent attacks on the WHO, Geng said that the US is showing "a mentality of hegemony" by showing it thinks the organization should listen to its commands just because it is the largest contributor. It is "a threat of blackmail" for the US to stop its funding just because the WHO upholds objectivity and justice, he said.
Geng suggested some people in the US take a look at the video of the One World: Together at Home virtual concert held over the weekend to see the broad support for the WHO and common aspirations for solidarity and cooperation. "We hope they will not stand on the opposite of the international community," he said.