On 21 May 2021, the symposium on ASEAN-China Public Health Cooperation jointly organized by the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in China and Xuzhou Municipal People’s Government was successfully held in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province. About 150 representatives from 20 countries and international organizations including China and ASEAN Member States (AMS), Xuzhou Municipal government, public health experts from East Asia, university scholars and entrepreneurs, attended the symposium online and offline.
Mr. Zhou Tiegen, Party Secretary of CPC Xuzhou Committee, delivered his opening remarks and thanked ACC and the Indonesian Embassy in China for choosing Xuzhou to host the event. He said that Xuzhou is a city of vitality and prosperity with a long history and profound culture. Xuzhou will give full play to the advantages of close ties with ASEAN, strengthen dialogue and communication, and build a demonstration window for foreign exchanges. We should enhance economic cooperation and trade to support economic recovery, and create a first-class business environment in China. We will cooperate in fighting the epidemic and build a solid defense for health and security. We will also promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, so as to contribute “Xuzhou’s power” to building the ASEAN-China community with a shared future and sharing the development opportunities with ASEAN.
Mr. Djauhari Oratmangun, Ambassador of Indonesia to China, spoke via video that the Covid-19 pandemic is both a serious challenge and an opportunity to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. ASEAN and China should continue to work jointly and closely to accomplish the dual task of disease prevention and economic recovery through constructive dialogue between political decision makers, public health experts and medical industries. He also believed that the establishment and deepening of the dialogue would help to promote mutual trust and enhance the understanding of public health and sustainable development among people on both sides.
Mr. Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin, Ambassador of Malaysia to China, highly commended ASEAN and China for standing together through thick and thin during the epidemic, and expressed his sincere gratitude to the medical and nursing staff who have been fighting against the epidemic on the front line. He said that ASEAN and China are jointly writing a new chapter in public health cooperation, with Malaysia becoming the second AMS to cooperate with China on vaccines after Indonesia. He expected to make full use of this symposium to further strengthen practical cooperation and provide guarantee and sustainable driving force for the development of AMS, including Malaysia.
Mr. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN, through his online speech, spoke highly of the joint efforts made by AMS and China to fight the epidemic. He noted that in the year when the Covid-19 pandemic swept all over the world, AMS and China have worked together, provided each other with anti-Covid-19 supplies and shared information closely. The social and economic conditions of both sides improved greatly compared with last year. The epidemic has greatly promoted public health interactions between AMS and China at all levels. Both sides should continue to deepen technical exchanges and professional personnel traning, and better explore effective measures to resume economy and people-to-people exchanges and carry out meaningful and substantive cooperation.
Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of ACC, expressed in his speech that AMS and China have been working together to combat the epidemic, with leaders from both sides maintaining close contact and reaching important consensus on enhancing public health cooperation, and vigorously promoting cooperation in policy dialogue and exchange, prevention and control of infectious diseases, the use of information and communication technologies to promote the sustainable development of public health and personnel training, which has achieved remarkable results. In the future, AMS and China should continue to leverage the role of existing mechanisms to enhance capacity building in the field of health, strengthen cooperation on scientific and technological innovation in virus tracing, vaccine and drug research and development, and promote international collaboration to jointly promote global public health governance and build a human health community.
Mr. Chen Junjie, Counsellor of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, said that AMS and China have stood together and worked hand in hand to help each other in times of difficulty in the face of the epidemic. The two sides have supported each other, promoted the establishment of a regional “green channel” and “fast track” network, deepened the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation in public health, and established a sound and effective system of vaccine cooperation and exchange system. China is willing to work together with ASEAN to turn crises into opportunities, deepen bilateral public health cooperation, build an ASEAN-China health community, promote common economic recovery and make efforts to build closer ASEAN-China relationships.
The symposium focused on the overview of ASEAN-China cooperation on public health, vaccine and epidemic prevention, personnel training and technical exchanges and the role of information, communication and medical technology for the sustainable development of public health in East Asia. Ms. Maria Rosario S. Vergeiri, Vice Minister of the Department of Health of the Philippines, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, Special Adviser on Public Health to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and government officials from the Department of Health of ASEAN countries including Indonesia, Mr. Dino R. Kusnadi, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister of Indonesian Embassy in China, Mr. Deny Wachyudi Kurnia, Consul General of Indonesia to Shanghai, Mr. Masataka Fujita, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-Japan Centre, experts and scholars from China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, China Biotechnology Development Centre, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, officials from the Foreign Affairs Office and Health Commission of Jiangsu Province, Drug Administration of Xuzhou and representatives from Chinese pharmaceutical companies such as China Sinopharm International Corporation and Sinovac Biotech, made speeches and put forward practical suggestions on strengthening public health safety governance, promoting unified vaccine certification, developing health applications for internet and portable device, and building a regional disease prevention and control system.
Government officials of AMS, representatives from diplomatic missions in China including ambassadors of Palestine, Burkina Faso and Portugal, and representatives from international organizations such as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) attended the meeting online, and had a lively discussion. Mr. Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin, Ambassador of Malaysia to China, Mr. Deny Wachyudi Kurnia, Consul General of Indonesia to Shanghai, and representatives of ACC gave interviews to the local media. Chinese and foreign media such as People’s Daily Online, Global Times, The Star of Malaysia and China Report ASEAN also covered the event.
At the opening ceremony, Mr. Zhang Ke, Vice Mayor of Xuzhou, and Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary General of ACC, signed the Memorandum of Cooperation between the People’s Government of Xuzhou and the ASEAN-China Centre.
Mr. Chen Dehai and other guests also visited the Economic and Technological Development Zone of Xuzhou, Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group Co., Ltd (XCMG), Fosun Pharma, and the Cultural Site of Han Dynasty, to learn and experience more about the development of local industries and Chinese traditional culture.