The following is an opinion piece written by Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou for the Yomiuri Shimbun on the importance of cooperation between Japan and China in combating the novel coronavirus.
The new coronavirus is spreading around the world. The outbreak is threatening people’s lives and health regardless of region, race, and country and posing an unprecedented and serious challenge to humankind. Countries need to join hands to combat the virus at this crucial time at which the world is trying to prevent and minimize the spread of infection.
China has weathered the “first wave” of the pandemic. The country made it a top priority to “prevent the virus from spreading at home and to other countries” from the very beginning and made an all-out effort to break the chain of infection by taking isolation measures across the nation and eventually imposing a lockdown. It can be said that China bought precious time for the international community to deal with the virus and shared its beneficial experience with other countries.
When the virus began to emerge, the Chinese government quickly released information and willingly shared its experiences in preventing, reducing, and treating infections with the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant countries in an open, transparent, and responsible manner. At the end of December 2019, a disease control center in Wuhan City in Hubei Province detected cases of pneumonia of unknown origin. On Jan. 3, China officially informed the WHO and other countries of the infection situation. Then on Jan. 12, China shared the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus with the entire world. Also, the National Health Commission began on Jan. 21 to release information on infections on a daily basis.
China actively promoted international cooperation while devoting all of its energy to domestically combating the virus. It also shared with other nations its latest medical treatment plans and measures to prevent and control infection in a timely manner. China has already held teleconferences between hygiene experts of more than 150 countries for more than 80 times, sent 17 teams of medical experts to 15 nations, and provided medical supplies to more than 140 countries and regions. I want to stress that disinformation and prejudice toward China is more likely to hinder global efforts to prevent and contain the virus than to contribute to preventing its spread.
Today, as members of the international community forge closer ties, humans increasingly share the same destiny. In the face of the unprecedented ordeal of fighting the virus, no country can either deal with it impeccably or focus solely on protecting itself. Unless the international community cooperates and joins hands in its efforts, the world will not be able to swiftly break free of the dark cloud of infection and ensure economic and social development and the return of people’s lives to normal.
When China was at a crucial point in preventing the spread of infection, the Japanese government and various social circles began to support China and extended selfless and sincere support to China one after another, widely conveying messages such as a poem that reads, “Even though we live at different places, we live under the same sky” throughout China. We treasure these sentiments of true friendship at a difficult time.
When the virus began to spread in Japan, the Chinese government, regional governments, and private sector sent such items as face masks, protective gowns, and PCR test kits to Japan. China wants to continue providing as much support as possible. We believe Japan will be able to overcome this disease and hope this will happen very soon.