Signed Article by H.E. Dr. Xiao Jianguo, Chinese Ambassador to Timor-Leste,
2021-02-25 19:58

On 25th February, Suara Timor Lorosae carried an article, both in English and Tetun, by Ambassador Dr. Xiao Jianguo entitled " Practicing Multilateralism, Fighting Together Against the Global COVID-19". The full text is as follows:

At present, the world is experiencing great changes unseen in a century. The continuous spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the serious recession of world economy, and the accelerated evolution of international order all make human being experience multiple crises rarely seen in the history of mankind. How to cope with these crises and find solutions to these problems? Facing the turbulence, China keeps calm and gives its own answer, that is, safeguarding and practicing multilateralism. However, there are different voices on the practice of "what kind of multilateralism is". President Xi Jinping profoundly grasped the future and destiny of mankind and the general trend of world development, and put forward the "China plan". At this year's World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda, he clearly put forward "four principles" of practicing multilateralism, that is, to stay committed to openness and inclusiveness instead of closeness and exclusion, to stay committed to international law and international rules instead of seeking one's own supremacy, to stay committed to consultation and cooperation instead of conflict and confrontation, to stay committed to keeping up with the times instead of rejecting change.


Advocating and practicing multilateralism is not only the choice of China, but also the consensus and aspiration of the vast majority of countries in the world. It reflects mankind's realistic thinking in the face of global problems, as well as a profound reflection on the negative lessons of international cooperation. "Plants with strong roots grow well, and efforts with the right focus will ensure success." From war to peace, from privilege to equality, from monopoly to negotiation, the evolution of history and civilization leads human society to multilateralism.


Upholding multilateralism responds to the strong calls of developing countries. At present, global problems emerge one after another, including epidemic prevention and control, economic development and climate change, etc., which need the cooperation of all countries, and by no means can a single country deal with. In the face of the above problems, the vast number of developing countries are often the biggest victims due to lack of funds, technology and talents, and their desire to solve these problems are even more urgent. Take fair distribution of vaccines in COVID-19 as an example, some rich and powerful countries pursue vaccine "nationalism", which order and hoard vaccines in large quantities far more than what they need, but it is very difficult for many developing countries to get enough vaccines. And China is demonstrating to the world that Chinese vaccines, as global public goods, will make them affordable to developing countries and promote equitable distribution of vaccines, and prevent a country in need from being left behind, nor will anyone waiting for the vaccine be forgotten.


Upholding multilateralism also stems from a deep reflection on the negative lessons of international cooperation. In recent years, individual countries have repeatedly committed unilateralism and acts of bullying, adhering to the talk of "clash of civilizations" and self-superiority over others, and they withdrew from international organizations and agreements, posing direct threats to multilateralism. When the COVID-19 virus spread around the world, individual Western countries spread the same dangerous "political virus", fanned the flames with prejudice and arrogance, made up rumors and created trouble, undermined global unity to fight the epidemic, and dissipated the energy of mankind to confront  coronavirus together. Some countries claim to be committed to multilateralism, but they practice international laws in a selective way and in double standards. They practice unilateralism and are egotistical, attacking international order, undermining international cooperation and world peace, and even seriously interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, and causing people to be displaced.


Multilateralism is about having international affairs addressed through dialogue and consultation, and the future of the world should be decided by everyone working together, rather than waving a big fist. One of the important contents of Xi Jinping's Diplomatic Thought is steering reform of the global governance system to uphold fairness and justice. In the new era, China's diplomacy is making continuous efforts to this end. We continue efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind and make the global governance system more just and equitable. We follow a global governance philosophy emphasizing extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We advocate democracy in international relations, insist that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal, and support the United Nations to play an active role in the world. We will support the expansion of the representation and voice of developing countries in international affairs. We adheres to the international system centered around the UN and the international order based on international law including the Charter of the United Nations. On the contrary, the law of the jungle, bullying acts or "selective multilateralism" will find no popular support and is bound to fail in the end. Therefore, all countries should adhere to the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom for all mankind, jointly safeguard world peace and stability, and build an open world economy. To beggar thy neighbor, to go it alone, and to slip into arrogant isolation is bound to hinder the development of the world and the friendly exchanges between the peoples of the world.


" Strong wind reveals the strength of grass, and test of fire shows the genuine gold." Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, nowadays poses a great challenge to multilateralism. After the outbreak of the epidemic last year, China launched the largest global emergency humanitarian operation in the history of PRC, providing anti-epidemic assistance to more than 150 countries and 10 international organizations, and sending 36 medical experts to 34 countries in need. China provides financial assistance to World Health Organization and relevant UN mechanisms, and provides continuous supplies for the global fight against the epidemic. Currently, vaccine is an effective weapon to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. As of early February, China has provided vaccine assistance to 53 developing countries and exported vaccines to 22 countries. China has also actively participated in COVAX of World Health Organization and decided to provide 10 million doses of vaccine, mainly for developing countries. China also supports domestic enterprises to carry out joint research and development and cooperative production of vaccines with foreign partners. In short, China is working hard to make the vaccines truly a "vaccine for people" and contribute to the early victory of the COVID-19 pandemic and the building of a global community of health for all.


Looking back to 2020, cooperation between China and Timor-Leste in fighting against COVID-19 pandemic is not only an important engine for the development of bilateral relations, but also a vivid illustration of practicing multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind. At the height of our battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, President, Prime Minister, National Assembly and friendly people from all walks of life in Timor-Leste actively expressed support to China. In return, when the epidemic broke out in Timor-Leste, China gave full support to Timor-Leste and was the first country to lend a helping hand to Timor-Leste and deliver medical supplies by chartered planes, which was widely acclaimed by people in Timor-Leste. With the help of the international community including China, Timor-Leste's response to COVID-19 epidemic is gratifying and proud. However, recently, since the number of imported cases in Timor-Leste is rapidly increasing, probably triggering a local community transmission, the epidemic prevention and control in Timor-Leste is facing the second wave of severe challenges. China will stand with the people and government of Timor-Leste, continue the help and cooperation in this fight. China would also like to actively assist Timor-Leste back into a normal life, speed up the construction of key projects and contribute to the economic recovery of Timor-Leste.


A just cause should be pursued for the common good. Multilateralism with the goal of building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind is the right path in the world. Only by holding high this torch can we light up humanity's way forward and reach the goal of concerning for the common good of humanity.

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