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Let's Work Together to Defeat the COVID-19 Outbreak

H.E. Mr. Cao Xiaolin, the Chinese ambassador to Tonga, had a meeting with Hon. Prime Minister Tui'i'onetoa in 30th March, 2020 in the Prime Minister's Office, and informed the Prime Minister that the Chinese Government has established the China-Pacific Island Countries anti-COVID-19 Cooperation Fund, and will donate US$200,000 in cash to the Tongan government for combating the COVID-19 outbreak. The following is what Mr. Cao said to the Media at the meeting.

Let's Work Together to Defeat the COVID-19 Outbreak

By H.E. Mr. Cao Xiaolin Chinese Ambassador to Tonga

The COVID-19 outbreak has been spreading worldwide over the past days, posing an enormous threat to the life and health of many people, and bringing a formidable challenge to the global public health security. The outbreak proves that major infectious disease is the enemy of all.

Tonga and the other Pacific Island countries have taken a series of tough measures to mitigate the risks of importing the outbreak. China commends all the efforts made by the Tongan government for this purpose. China also appreciates the strong supports and selfless assistance from the Royal families, the Tongan government and the people during the fight against COVID-19 by the Chinese people.

At a special moment of coping with the outbreak by the Pacific Island countries, the Chinese Government has just established the China-Pacific Island Countries anti-COVID-19 Cooperation Fund, with a total amount of US$1.9 million, in order to enhance the cooperation in combating COVID-19. Among which, US$200,000 will be donated to the Tongan Government for fighting COVID-19. This demonstrates that China is practicing the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind in the field of international health cooperation.

The anti-COVID-19 cooperation between China and Tonga can serve a role model in the following aspects:

First, our cooperation is sincere. During China's fighting against the outbreak, His Majesty King Tupou VI, HRH Princess Pilolevu Tuita, Hon. Prime Minister Tui'i'onetoa, Hon. Speaker Fakafanua, Hon. Minister Vaipulu and the people from all walks of life supported the Chinese government and the Chinese people in the form of letters, video clips, warm words, donation,etc, which has given enormous power to China. At the same time, the Chinese government took good care of the health of all the Tongan citizens in China to ensure that they would be free from the outbreak. As the virus is spreading in more and more countries now, the Chinese government, the Chinese companies and the Chinese community in Tonga donated money and personal protective equipment(PPE) to the Tongan government in order to improve the health capability for combating the outbreak. It goes without saying that our mutual support is like the care of loved ones.

Second, our cooperation is very efficient. From the very beginning of the outbreak, China has maintained close communication with Tonga in sharing information and experiences on combating COVID-19 in a timely and comprehensive manner. I exchanged views with Hon.Prime Minister Tui'i'onetoa, Hon. Minister of Health Amelia Tu'ipulotu, secretary Malolo of the Foreign Affairs and some other ministers and high-level government officials on what China had learned from anti-COVID-19 battle and how Tonga should do to prevent the epidemic. The Chinese medical experts held a video conference with the health officials and experts of Tonga and some other island countries in this region to share their valuable first-hand experiences in combating the outbreak. The Chinese embassy provided the Tongan Ministry of Health with the latest version of the diagnosis and treatment protocol, the prevention and control protocol on COVID-19, and the knowledge of the personal protection on the epidemic. I am happy to know that Tonga has learned from China's experiences and adopted comprehensive measures for the prevention of the epidemic, which has been very effective until now. We are very lucky that there is no single confirmed case in Tonga even though the virus is raging in the world now. This is really a hard-won result.

Third, our cooperation is lofty. The concept of our cooperation is similar. In the era of globalization, the connection between countries has become closer and closer. At the same time, more and more challenges are looming large, which needs a coordinated response from the international community. China and the Pacific Island countries, including Tonga, have reached many consensuses in responding to climate change, which is a critical issue to the island countries. China and the Pacific Island countries are practicing the concept of building a community of shared future for mankind while addressing the climate change. COVID-19 is a non-traditional threat and the common enemy of mankind, which needs a collective response from all the countries in the world from the perspective of a community of shared future for mankind. China appreciates that the Tongan government and the Tongan people have taken a rational and scientific attitude to this outbreak, and strengthen international cooperation with a view to safeguarding the health of the Tongan people and the people in the world. We can say that Tonga is a small country, but Tonga has a broad mind. We highly commend this.

Now, the outbreak has become more severe in the world. At the same time, the resolution on combating the outbreak by the international community has been increased and the measures have been toughened. The Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit on COVID-19 was held successfully last week, and a statement was issued. President Xi Jinping attended the Summit and put forth four proposals. This is a positive sign that G20 members are working together to meet the challenges of the pandemic and maintain the stability of the world economy. The Summit has also enhanced the confidence for China and Tonga and the other Pacific Island countries to work together to defeat the outbreak in this region. I would like to make the following proposals:

First, we should turn this donation of cash from China into concrete anti- COVID-19 measures in Tonga. There is a Chinese saying, when we have food at home, we will not panic at heart. Even though we face the difficulty of decreased international flights now, I suggest that the Tongan government purchase enough PPE for combating the epidemic, so that the doctors and nurses will be well equipped, the Tongan people will be well protected with personal protection stuff, and the whole country will fight outbreak in a calm and orderly manner. China will help Tonga purchase some PPE and other goods from China, if Tonga makes such a proposal, so that this donation will benefit more Tongan people and achieve the best result.

Second, China and Tonga will continue to share information and experiences on fighting COVID-19. The Chinese embassy will be happy to get timely information on the outbreak in Tonga and the latest measures adopted by the Tongan government so that the Embassy will be well informed. It is vital for the Pacific Island countries to gain useful experiences on fighting COVID-19 to defeat the outbreak. China's experiences are a collection of combat experiences gathered over the course of more than two months. They represent the wisdom and hard work of tens of thousands of frontline medical personnel in China. China has shared and is ready to share them with Tonga and the Pacific Island countries to win the fight. The Chinese community in Tonga has made great contributions to the social and economic development of Tonga and to the fight against the outbreak. They are brothers and sisters of the Tongan people. I hope the Tongan people and the Chinese in Tonga will get along well with each other.

Third, the cooperation in fighting the outbreak will promote the friendship between China and Tonga. China and Tonga and the other countries in this region are along the Pacific Ocean. The water of the Ocean links closely the hearts of our people. The epidemic is ruthless, but our people have a big love for each other. We should broaden the friendship formed in this anti-COVID-19 battle to enhance the cooperation in various fields, such as economy, trade, agriculture, fishery, health, education, culture, climate change, to push forward the friendly relations and cooperation between our two countries to a new high and benefit more people.

Finally, I am confident, that under the leadership of the Royal families and the Tongan government, the Tongan people will prevail over the outbreak and we all will embrace a brighter future for mankind!

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