Representatives from ministries of foreign affairs of the Peoples Republic of China and Caribbean states with diplomatic relations with China have condemned any attempt to politicise the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is one of the statements coming out of a just-concluded meeting between China and those Caribbean countries.
Antigua and Barbuda was represented at the meeting by permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anthony Liverpool.
The main topic for discussion held by video-conference on Tuesday was the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global community.
“The two sides acknowledged the enormity of the threat posed by COVID-19 to lives and livelihoods as well as the resulting deleterious social and economic impacts in China, the Caribbean countries and across the world.
The two sides expressed deep condolences over the lives lost to the virus and heartfelt sympathies to all the patients and their families and paid high tribute to the healthcare workers fighting at the front line,” the post meeting communique said.
The two sides shared the view that although COVID-19 has so far been effectively stemmed in China and several Caribbean countries, it is still rapidly spreading in many parts of the world.
According to the statement they also recognised that the virus respects no borders and was a common enemy of humanity.
“Guided by multilateralism and science, all countries must strengthen communication, coordination and cooperation in support of the important role of the World Health Organization in coordinating global cooperation against COVID-19. We oppose any politicization, discrimination and labeling of peoples with regard to COVID-19!” it declared.
The joint statement said the Caribbean side emphasized the importance of strengthening the capacity of their local health systems and the need to support developing countries, in particular those in Caribbean.
For its part, the Chinese side voiced appreciation to the Caribbean countries for their firm and sincere support and highly commended the Caribbean’s active efforts to manage and contain COVID-19 especially given their particular vulnerabilities.
China said it was ready to further help friendly Caribbean countries as its ability permits and it called on the international community to provide the Caribbean side with necessary support and assistance against COVID-19.
At the conclusion, both sides agreed to further maintain and strengthen mutual support and coordination in international and regional affairs, to firmly support the UN-centered international system, to uphold the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and to safeguard the legitimate rights, interests and space for development of developing countries.
They also agreed on the need to defend the multilateral trading system with the WTO as the core, build an open world economy, advance the reform of global financial governance and accelerate the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The other Caribbean countries represented at the meeting were the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Barbados, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, the Republic of Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.