China, West Asia, and North Africa stick together, strengthen friendship amid pandemic

The onslaught from the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the international community witnessing all kinds of evil actions that challenge the bottom line of civilization, undermine international order, and jeopardize global solidarity and cooperation. Luckily, this natural disaster has also made the world more determined to work together to overcome difficulties.

Amid the pandemic, China and countries in West Asia and North Africa have supported one another, demonstrating their deep friendship and cherishing the value of a community of shared future for mankind.

Burj Khalifa in Dubai is lit up in the colors of China’s national flag.

On Jan. 23, China locked down Wuhan, Hubei province, in a bid to curb the epidemic. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran, tweeted a message in Chinese on Jan. 24, saying “Human beings are members of a whole, since in their creation they are of one essence. When the conditions of the time bring pain to one member, the other members will suffer from discomfort. As a Chinese poem goes ‘Are you not battle-dressed? Let’s share the plate for breast!’ Iran stands firmly with China whenever and wherever.”

Officials from 23 countries in the two regions have expressed support for China through letters or phone calls.

Not only have countries in these regions including Iran, Turkey, the UAE, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar donated medical masks, gloves and protective clothing to China, but people in West Asia and North Africa have also been cheering on the Chinese nation through videos and songs.

A team of Chinese anti-epidemic experts arrive in Iran on Feb. 29, 2020.

Meanwhile, landmarks in these regions, including the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai; the Citadel of Saladin, Luxor and Karnak Temples in Cairo; the Freedom Tower in Tehran, were illuminated with China’s national flag to boost the country’s spirits.

On its part, China has remembered the kindness of these countries and returned the favor when the novel coronavirus began spreading rapidly in West Asia and North Africa in the middle of February.

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke over the phone with the leaders of Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia among others to express his sympathy over the pandemic. “At the most difficult moment in our fight against the outbreak, China received assistance and help from many members of the global community,” he said at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit on March 26, adding that such expressions of friendship will always be remembered and cherished by the Chinese people.

Health experts from China and countries in West Asia and North Africa hold a video conference on the novel coronavirus epidemic on March 27, 2020.

Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will be more than ready to provide assistance where it can to countries hit by the growing outbreak, Xi pointed out.

He also called on the international community to strengthen its confidence, act with unity and work together in a collective response so that humanity as one can win the battle against this major infectious disease.

Under the principle of building a community of a shared future for mankind, the Chinese government, enterprises and organizations have assisted West Asian and North African countries through donations of medical supplies, while experts in China have either been fighting the virus on the frontline or sharing anti-pandemic formulas via video conference, helping locals treat diseases as well as giving people a boost of confidence.

But while China’s contributions to the cause of human health have largely been acknowledged by the international community, some people, out of ulterior motives, have distorted the truth, discredited China’s efforts and even tried to blackmail China.

China hands anti-epidemic supplies over to Sudan at Khartoum International Airport on April 15, 2020.

Under these circumstances, countries in West Asia and North Africa have voiced support for the truth, defended China and upheld justice.

The Egyptian government and people firmly support China and believe that China, an ancient civilization, is capable of defeating the pandemic, said Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt.

His words were echoed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, who highly appreciated the strong measures taken by the Chinese government in response to the outbreak, and believed that China will win this battle.

Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, pointed out that the anti-pandemic measures taken by the Chinese government are impressive and the Iranian government and people are willing to cooperate with China to defeat the disease.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that the war against COVID-19 is one that all of humanity is facing. He expressed admiration for the heroic efforts through which the Chinese people have defeated the outbreak, adding that China has set a fine example for the world, and its unconditional donations of medical supplies to the world have been a great inspiration to the international community.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of Mauritania, gave high praise to China at the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held online in May for providing medical supplies to and sharing anti-pandemic experience with the country, and opposed any attempt to discredit the efforts and achievements of specific countries and organizations.

Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of Sudan, said the Sudanese side appreciates China’s positive role in promoting international COVID-19 containment cooperation, and opposes any acts to stigmatize any country.

China’s anti-virus progress sets an example for other nations and brings hope to their people, said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the UAE, adding that without China’s efforts and contributions, the virus’s global spread would be much worse than it is.

Ahcene Boukhelfa, Algerian ambassador to China, pointed out that China’s support for his country in the fight against the epidemic is a concrete practice of building a community of shared future for mankind.

Despite being threatened by the novel coronavirus and some “political viruses”, China, West Asia and North Africa have always supported and helped each other. It is believed that the countries involved will grow closer after the pandemic and strengthen the belief in building a community of shared future.