China-Philippines friendship and cooperation will withstand the test of time

Published May 2, 2021, 12:13 AM

by Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian

(Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Huang Xilian at the Vaccine Summit of the Philippines International Chamber of Commerce and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, April 30, 2021.)

 I am honored to attend this summit. Let me begin by thanking the Philippines International Chamber of Commerce and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for organizing this timely event.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging around the world. Fighting against the pandemic remains the most urgent task for the international community. Vaccine is the fundamental means to control the spread of the pandemic and save lives.

President Xi Jinping solemnly declared that COVID-19 vaccine, once developed and deployed by China, will be made a global public good. This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.

China honors its words with actions, pooling its resources and sparing no efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccine research and development. In China, five COVID-19 vaccines have got conditional market approval or emergency use permit, with more than 240 million doses have been administered. China plans to vaccinate 560 million people with 1.12 billion doses by the end of July. So far, more than 80 countries have authorized the use of Chinese vaccines. Chinese vaccines’ safety and effectiveness earned recognition across the world. Despite domestic supply shortage, China has provided vaccines to 80 developing countries and three international organizations in urgent need, and exported vaccines to over 40 countries. China has also actively responded to the appeal of the United Nations and WHO. China has joined WHO-backed vaccine program COVAX, under which we have pledged to provide an initial 10 million doses COVID-19 vaccine and prioritize needs of developing countries, committed to fair global distribution of vaccines.

As coronavirus variants emerge frequently, mass vaccination becomes a race against time. Only being safe, effective, and accessible can a vaccine called a good product. The international community must join hands to overcome difficulties and eliminate the “vaccine divide.” Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has donated one million doses of vaccine to the Philippines and prioritized vaccine export to the Philippines. So far, 3.5 million doses of Chinese vaccines have arrived in the Philippines, and another two million doses procured by the Philippine government will arrive soon in May. We are delighted to know that the Russian vaccine will arrive in Manila soon to help the Philippines fight against the pandemic. Certain vaccine-producing countries hoard large amounts of vaccines far beyond their real needs. They also prohibit the export of raw materials for vaccine production, resulting in serious shortage of vaccines in developing countries. Vaccine nationalism, contrary to international fairness and justice, undermines international community’s hard work to fight against the pandemic.

Real gold can withstand the test of fire. China’s test kits and PPEs withstood doubts and suspicions, and proved to safeguard Philippines’ fight against COVID-19 since last year. This year, doubts and even smear also came before and when the Chinese vaccines arrived in the Philippines. Now, the Chinese vaccines have become the major source of Philippine vaccination. I was especially impressed by General Galvez and his team for their professional dedication and transparency in the process of purchasing Chinese vaccines.

Facing the pandemic, it is a top priority for both of our two countries to work together to defeat the pandemic and bring the economy and people’s life back on track. China and the Philippines are neighbors that cannot be moved away. For neighbors, it is normal to have differences. What matters is that we handle them in a mature and constructive manner. This serves the mutual benefits of our countries and meets the common aspiration of our people. China always values promise and integrity. We Chinese people always mean what we say. And we also firmly believe that a friend in need is a friend indeed, and time will tell. The pandemic is a test for friendship. Certain countries, while looking on Philippines’ anxiety of vaccine need with indifference, tried to sow discord by taking advantage of the differences between China and the Philippines. We should stay alert. Tougher the time is, wider our eyes open. We would eventually know who the real friends and reliable partners are.

Success belongs to those who persevere. I believe that through solidarity and mutual assistance we will prevail over the pandemic and embrace a brighter future. I also believe that China-Philippines friendship and cooperation will withstand the test of time.

I wish this summit a complete success. Thank you.