Ambassador Xiao Jianguo's Speech at the Donation Ceremony of Chinese Vaccines to Timor-Leste
2021-06-06 19:56

June 5th,2021


Your Excellency Ms Armanda Berta dos Santos, Vice PM and Minister of Social Solidarity and Inclusion,

Your Excellency Ms Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation,

Your Excellency Ms Odete Maria Freitas Belo, Minister of Health,

Distinguished Ambassador Camões, Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation,

Distinguished Mr. Bilal, UNICEF Representative,

Distinguished Mr. Liu, WFP Representative,

Distinguished Dr Arvind, WHO Representative,

Ladies and gentlemen:

Good afternoon!

Today, we are here together for the handover ceremony of 100,000 doses of Chinese Sinovac Vaccines and 100,800 syringes to TL. First of all, I would like to thank Your Excellencies Ms Armanda Berta dos Santos, Ms Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno and Ms Odete Maria Freitas Belo to grace the ceremony. I also would like to express my thanks to all the relevant ministries and departments of Timor-Leste, the World Food Program and other UN institutions for their coordinated efforts for the success of this chartered shipment.

As far as we know, since this March, Covid-19 local transmission has begun spreading in Timor-Leste, the contracted people increased fast and many cities and districts locked down. Facing the deteriorating situation, Timorese government asked China for a vaccine help. Chinese government followed closely the epidemic situation and attached great importance to the urgent need of Timor-Leste. Within one month, in April, China announced to donate 100000 vaccine doses to Timor-Leste. Today, I am happy to see that, under the concerted efforts by the relevant departments home and abroad, the largest batch of vaccines finally and safely arrived here. Thank you all again for your care and effort. I also would like to thank the Ministry of Health for drawing up its inoculation programs, including the one especially for the overseas Chinese here.

Today's donation is actually an upgraded version of the anti-epidemic cooperation between our two countries, shows China's firm support to Timor-Leste in fighting the epidemic, and great importance China attaches to the friendly relationship between our two countries, notwithstanding that the whole world is now under great strain of vaccine supplies. A few days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a Congratulatory Letter to Timorese President Lú Olo on the occasion of 19th anniversary of Timor-Leste's restoration of independence, reiterating that, as a traditional friend, China follows and concerns the COVID-19 epidemic in Timor-Leste and is always ready to provide assistance to its ability. In fact, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in TL last year, China and Timor-Leste have always supported and cared each other. China was the first country to respond to Timor-Leste's request and the first country to send chartered flights to deliver medical supplies. Up to now, China has donated 12 batches of medical supplies to Timor-Leste, and another batch of medical supplies is being prepared, and it is hoped to arrive in Dili later.

Today's donation is also a concrete action to implement President Xi Jinping's proposal that vaccines should be made a global public good. At the recent on-line Global Health Summit, President Xi Jinping proposed making vaccines more accessible and affordable to bridge the immunization gap between the rich and poor countries. Despite the stretched production and enormous demand at home, China has honored its commitment by providing free vaccines to more than 80 developing countries in urgent need and exporting vaccines to 43 countries. China has joined the WHO-initiated COVAX and pledged 10 million doses to meet the urgent need of developing countries. China has already supplied 350 million doses of vaccines abroad, and will continue to provide more vaccines. China's practice has played a significant role for ensuring fair access to vaccines in the world.


Not long ago, the WHO approved the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use. The approval means the vaccine "meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing", the WHO said. Sinovac has its own advantages. For example, it is an inactivated vaccine. Developed in a more traditional and mature way, the inactivated vaccine should be more reliable in safety than other new types of vaccines, without risking a serious disease response. Sinovac had supplied more than 600 million doses of its vaccine at home and abroad as of end-May, such as Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Hungary, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey. It is recommended by WHO that the vaccine be administered in two shots to those aged 18 and over, within 2-4 weeks. But in China, Sinovac vaccine is approved for emergency use to younger recipients aged from 3 to 17 years old. Easy storage is another outstanding feature. Sinovac vaccine can be stored in a standard refrigerator at 2-8 degrees Celsius, at least for two years, it has a much longer validity period than other brands of vaccines, therefore is highly suitable for the low-resource countries. In terms of efficacy, Sinovac vaccine has been approved effective, especially in the prevention of severe cases and deaths. A recent study published by the Ministry of Health in Indonesia shows that two shots of the Sinovac vaccine was 94% effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms, 96% effective against hospitalization, and 98% effective in preventing death. And in Brazil, after having 75% of its residents vaccinated with Sinovac vaccines, a small town named Serrana saw a clear drop of the epidemic: Deaths fell by 95%, hospitalizations by 86% and symptomatic cases by 80%. The WHO said it prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated and prevented severe symptoms and hospitalization in 100% of samples. Vaccine is the most powerful weapon to fight COVID-19. In face of the widespread coronavirus, the world, including TL, desperately needs multiple Covid-19 vaccines. Just as a saying goes, the vaccine you got is the most suitable one for you, and I really hope more and more Timorese can get vaccinated, no matter Sinovac or AstraZeneca, to set up a shield against the coronavirus, and to get life back to normal soon.


In addition to help Timor-Leste fight the COVID-19 epidemic, China is also actively supporting Timor-Leste's disaster relief and economic recovery. Last week, a Chinese chartered flight brought back some skilled workers for the key programs in TL, and also brought disaster relief supplies such as blankets and solid soaps. President Xi Jinping announced recently that China will provide an additional 3 billion US dollars in international aid over the next three years to support COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery in the developing countries. I think Timor-Leste could benefit from it in its own strive to rebuild the beautiful island after the most devastating flood hit in TL in early April.


Facing to the unprecedented pandemic, the world is reaching a perilous point. There is a greater recognition of the importance of "a community with a shared future for mankind". No single country can address the challenges by its own, and no single country can stay immune on its own. It is a globe fight, solidarity, cooperation and mutual assistance is the only right choice. In this process, we must abandon the "vaccine nationalism" of selfishness or beggar-thy-neighbors, oppose any attempt to politicize or label the virus, and stop sowing division or distrust. At this critical time, China stands in solidarity with Timor-Leste. As a traditional friend, China will deepen its anti-epidemic cooperation with Timor-Leste, jointly carry out the high quality "Belt and Road" construction, jointly build a global community of health for all, to promote a fairer and better world, a safer and richer Timor-Leste. Let's hand in hand.

Thank you all.

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