‘Closer US-China relation key to fight against virus’


Closer US-China collaboration, a significant part of broader global cooperation and coordination, is key to the fight against an unprecedented pandemic like the ongoing COVID-19, several former US diplomats and healthcare experts have said recently, reports AP.

COVID-19 should be a wake-up call about the cooperation that will be needed to ensure that any future pandemic -- particularly one that is even more lethal than the coronavirus -- can be dealt with most effectively by the international community, Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation and former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, told Xinhua via email on Wednesday.

There are now more than half a million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including more than 20,000 deaths, according to the latest figures by the World Health Organization.

Experts called for joint efforts by Washington and Beijing to tackle the severe global public health crisis, underscoring the significance of collective response by the international community.

COVID-19 offers a unique opportunity to take an extremely positive step that could help restore some of the previous stability that characterized the bilateral relationship, said Quinn, who had a 32-year career as a US diplomat.

The two sides are encouraged to work together to confront the coronavirus outbreak and defeat future pandemic diseases, from wherever in the world they might emanate, said the veteran diplomat.

The two most significant countries on our planet in terms of scientific expertise and research capacity need to be partners in ensuring human triumph over the threat of a devastating global cataclysm, he stressed.

Nicholas Platt, who served as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Pakistan, Philippines, Zambia, and as a high-level diplomat in various countries including China, echoed Quinn on the urgency of U.S.-China collaboration, especially when the world has seen a sharp surge in the number of infections.

We should focus on working together and not blaming each other for what's happened in the past, Platt, also former president of the Asia Society, a non-profit organization in New York City, told Xinhua in a phone interview on Wednesday.

The doctors in the United States understand and agree with doctors in China about the virus and what to do about it, he said. We should be learning as much about each other and exchanging as much information as we possibly can.

Wafaa El-Sadr, director of the Global Health Initiative and ICAP at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said this virus does not discriminate, and we are all vulnerable.

The seasoned expert said that by strengthening collaboration on various fronts such as scientific research, China and the United States can contribute to the tackling of major global public health threats.

Facing epidemics like the coronavirus, mankind is a community that shares weal and woe, and concerted wills and actions by the global community are highly urged, said experts.

We're all in this together ... we all must face this challenge together, said Platt, adding that joint efforts by nations across the globe can contribute to the general health of all. This is the time to build bridges, not walls, between peoples around the world, said El-Sadr, adding she was encouraged to see the sharing of information and scientific data across borders, which is critical in working towards controlling this pandemic.

Quinn urged continued full sharing of information in terms of the situations within each country, including about the efficacy of drugs and therapies that are being tested and utilized, in order to contain the virus.

Since the onset of the outbreak, China has taken rigorous measures to contain the epidemic, and has been sharing critical information with the world in an open, transparent and timely manner, providing as much assistance as it can for hard-hit countries and those with fragile public health systems.

The Group of 20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders' Summit on COVID-19 was held on Thursday in an effort to coordinate global response to the fast-spreading coronavirus.