State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday called on the partners involved in the Belt and Road Initiative to step up public health cooperation to make greater contributions to the global fight against COVID-19.
Wang made the remark while addressing the High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation in Beijing.
Highlighting the importance of developing a "Silk Road of health", Wang said the BRI partners should continue to support the World Health Organization in playing a leading role in coordinating the global response to COVID-19, explore the establishment of regional response liaison mechanisms for public health emergencies, and convene when appropriate a high-level meeting on global public health security.
Wang underlined the need for the BRI countries to strengthen connectivity to provide a solid underpinning for the economic recovery, accelerate the building of a global partnership on connectivity and keep industrial and supply chains secure, open and stable, and get key Belt and Road infrastructure projects restarted as early as possible.
As the essence of Belt and Road cooperation is the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits and the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and transparency, Wang said BRI countries should uphold multilateralism and advocate openness and inclusiveness.
"Let us carry out cooperation in innovation to inject fresh impetus into sustainable global growth," he said.
Trade and economic exchanges have continued to expand among BRI countries. Trade in goods between China and BRI partners topped $1.3 trillion last year, up by 6 percent year-on-year, and Chinese investment in Belt and Road countries increased by $15 billion, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the first quarter of this year, trade between China and BRI partners rose by 3.2 percent, and direct investment by China went up by 11.7 percent on a yearly basis, the ministry said.
To beat the virus and energize economic recovery, China will strengthen communication and coordination with Belt and Road partners and support them in fighting COVID-19 and resuming economic and social development, Wang said.
In the development and application of vaccines, he said, China will provide positive consideration to the needs of Belt and Road partners, and support technical exchanges and cooperation through such platforms as the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the Belt and Road Region.
"We are ready to start technical communication and coordination with Belt and Road partners as soon as possible to discuss the establishment of fast-track lanes for cross-border flows of people and goods," he added.
Other plans for strengthening cooperation include holding a transportation ministers' video conference with Belt and Road partners to maintain the smooth functioning and security of international industrial and supply chains and logistics systems, stepping up cooperation with Belt and Road partners in innovation, promoting Silk Road e-commerce, and advancing cooperation in smart cities and green development.
Foreign ministers or officials at minister level from 25 countries attended the video conference. World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and United Nations Under-Secretary General and also United Nations Development Program Administrator Achim Steiner also participated in the event.