Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Ren Yisheng, announced his government has promised to make its COVID-19 vaccines a “global public good.”
Amb. Yisheng, who spoke to Liberian journalists on Wednesday, November 25, through a virtual press conference attended by a cross-section of Liberia media executives, told the gathering that China stands ready to step up cooperation with other countries on research and development, production and distribution of vaccines for COVID-19.
He further indicated that President Xi has championed building an open world economy and facilitating free trade.
This, according to him, followed the signing of the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), by 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Ambassador Ren informed the gathering that President Xi used these diplomatic occasions to take swipes at the rising protectionism, unilateralism and attempts at “de-globalization” or “economic decoupling.”
According to him, President Xi urged the G20 members and BRICS countries to safeguard the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, referring to the United Nations as “the core institution for addressing international affairs through cooperation.”
He said, “As President Xi said, China remains convinced that the theme of our times — peace and development — has not changed, and that the trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization cannot be turned around. 2020 is no doubt an extraordinary year in human history. Confronted with COVID-19, China and Africa have offered mutual support and fought hand in hand with each other.”
China, he said, will always remember the invaluable support African countries including Liberia gave to them at the height of the coronavirus fight.
In return, when Africa was struck by the virus, China was the first to rush in with assistance and has stood side by side with the African people.
At the opening ceremony of the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, he added, that President XI announced a series of measures to support Africa to fight the pandemic including providing supplies, sending expert teams, and facilitating Africa’s procurement of medical supplies in China, providing vaccines to Africa with priority and relieving the debt pressure of African countries.
Speaking on China and Liberia relationship, Amb. Ren said, two countries, have the tradition of looking out for one another by standing shoulder to shoulder. He recalled that when China was hit by COVID-19, President George Weah sent a personal letter to President Xi Jinping, expressing his firm support for China’s fight against COVID-19.
He said China was the first to help and support the Ebola-infected West African countries including Liberia. To date, Amb. Ren said, the Chinese government has dispatched 13 medical teams totalling 132 doctors to provide Liberian people with free medical service.
“We live in a new, momentous era. We are standing at the threshold of a new chapter to be added to history. No matter how the world may change and no matter what challenges may come up ahead, cooperation between China and Africa will never stop and the efforts to build a better and stronger FOCAC will never stop,” Amb. Ren said.
However, the Chinese Ambassador told the participants that the next FOCAC meeting is scheduled to be held next year in Senegal. He reiterated that China is ready to work with Africa to make good preparations for the arrangements and deliverables of the meeting. “Let us join our efforts to stand up to challenges, strive for high quality in our cooperation and open up a far brighter future for China-Africa relations,” he said.