September 21, 2020

COVID 19 by the Embassy of China

By Tereza Neuwirthová.

On February 26th, the Ambassador of China H.E. Dr. Xu Hong, in collaboration with Diplomat Magazine, organised a briefing reception about the Corona Virus (COVID 19) at Crowne Plaza The Hague. The main purpose of the briefing was to inform diplomats posted in The Hague, Dutch Representatives, the media, as well as the general public about the situation in China in light of the recent developments connected to the spread of this disease.

At the beginning of the briefing, upon the proposal of Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, the publisher of Diplomat Magazine, all guests present at the briefing expressed their condolences to the victims of COVID 19 by holding a minute of silence together. 

Thereafter, a video demonstrating the steps China has taken at combatting the virus, as well as the international responses and reportages from the affected provinces, was shown. The video displayed the immense efforts and forces that have been employed so far, and simultaneously underlined the significance of concerted global action in order to withstand the pressured posed by the COVID 19 on the lives of millions.

H.E. Dr. Xu Hong, Ambassador of China during the briefing.

To initiate his speech, H.E. Ambassador Xu Hong remarked: 

“At this moment, my compatriots are devoting themselves fighting against the outbreak day and night. People throughout China and the world follow the changes of statistics closely and look forward to the inflection point of the epidemic. At the same time, we have also witnessed the courage and strength of China confronted by such a crisis, as well as the unity and cooperation of the international community facing such a communal challenge. That is where our confidence is sourced to defeat this epidemic.”

 “On the one hand, the number of newly confirmed cases is gradually declining, from more than 3,000 cases per day in early February to 406 yesterday. And more than 98% of the newly diagnosed cases is restricted in Hubei Province. Other mainland provinces have seen even a greater declining, from the peak of 890 in early February to 5 yesterday, with zero increase in 26 of them.”

The ambassador Dr. Xu Hong explained that despite the efforts taken, China faces challenges in combatting the COVID 19, as this virus is not only highly contagious and difficult to diagnose, but also due to its  unfortunate outbreak at the time of the Chinese New Year, which presents the highest annual personal flow. Moreover, with the spread of the virus, the pressures on medical resources such as supplies and staff have been intensified.

H.E. Dr. Xu Hong, Ambassador of China. Photography by Naldo Peverelli for Diplomat Magazine.

Dealing with all of the challenges, China’s president Xi Jinping personally directed the adoption of a series of unprecedented measures for prevention, control, and treatment, which effectively curbed the spread of the epidemic.

“31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities across the country activated the first-level response to public health emergencies. Large number of officials and volunteers working at the primary level, regardless of their own safety, entered communities, villages and towns to implement prevention and control measures, and to ensure the daily supplies of people.”

Addressing the necessity of international cooperation and mobilisation of forces to contain the present level, but more importantly to prevent form the further spread of COVID 19, H.E. Ambassador Xu Hong stated that:

“China keeps close contact and coordination with the health authorities and embassies of many countries including the Netherlands, to speed up vaccine and drug development, share information, verify suspected and confirmed cases, and respond to foreign concerns in a timely manner.”

Similarly, the Chinese Ambassador pointed out that close cooperation with the WHO experts, who have been invited to the most impacted Chinese provinces of Wuhan and Hubei, is currently being undertaken. In addition to investigations and in-depth professional exchanges, high-scale measures are enabled through China’s “technology-powered and science-driven” approach. 

On the topic of China-The Netherlands relations, the Ambassador reiterated his gratitude for the signs of empathy that he received form the Royal family, the Prime Minister, as well as Dutch officials. What is more, China appreciates the timely updates and releases by institutions like RIVM, which “reflect the spirit of shared destiny of the international community.”

Lastly, the economic consequences of the outbreak of COVID 19 were examined, whereby the Ambassador articulated his full confidence that the impact will be “limited, short-term, and manageable.”

Ambassador Hong during the press briefing a bout Corona virus.

“The Chinese government has stepped up macroeconomic policy adjustments and rolled out a series of policy measures, including increasing capital investment, phased tax and fee reduction, and strengthening preferential credit support.”

To stress China’s economic resilience, H.E. Mr. Xu Hong remarked that it is vital to take a long-term view; 

When looking at China’s economic development, we should insist on a comprehensive, dialectical, and long-term perspective. Laying emphasis on both epidemic containment and economic operation, the Chinese government will successfully settle the short-term impact of the epidemic, release the huge potential and strong momentum of China’s development, and work hard to complete this year’s economic and social development goals.”

Following the ambassador’s briefing, Mr. Jochum Haakma, the President of the Netherlands China Business Council informed the guests about the most vital figures and predictions with regard to the development of business and finances in light of COVID 19 outbreak. 

Firstly, having pointed out that The Netherlands is China’s second most important trade and investment partner in the EU, Mr. Haakma expressed the high impact the virus could potentially have on the Dutch companies. Referring to the predictions, the possible gaps in the supply chain, especially in resource-intensive goods production, are likely to incur losses to a number of Dutch companies. On the other hand, FDI and capital-intensive goods that form a substantial volume of the Dutch-Chinese trade, will remain stable. 

Corona virus’s briefing by the Ambassador of China.

Lastly, the President of the Netherlands China Business Council concluded by affirming the confidence in China’s ability to secure growth and swiftly overcome the crisis posed by the COVID 19 virus. Likewise, Mr. Haakma expressed the belief that the Dutch investment in China will likely bloom in the future. 

The Ambassador then took questions from the audience and journalists.

To close the briefing, H.E. Mr. Xu Hong once again thanked the guests for their presence, and concluded that: “We will continue to firmly hold our belief in victory, and work closely with the international community to win the battle against this epidemic.”

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