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Ties with Djibouti lifted to next level

By ZHUO RUISHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-21 08:38
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MA XUEJING/CHINA DAILY

Joint fight could lay the foundation for building of a China-African community for health

Even as the novel coronavirus rages around the world, China and Djibouti are standing together, supporting each other and conducting remarkable and productive cooperation in the tough fight against the virus.

When China was going through its worst phase, Djibouti, one of the least developed countries, overcame domestic difficulties and donated $1 million to the Chinese government. That means each resident of Djibouti contributed $1 to show firm support and strong solidarity to the Chinese government and people.

Djiboutian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, and Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, secretary-general of the ruling party-the People's Rally for Progress, and minister of economy and finance, as well as other public figures from all walks of life, expressed their confidence in China winning the fight.

As a grateful nation, China always returns the generous goodwill and support it receives. So, when the first confirmed novel coronavirus case was reported in Djibouti on March 18, China lost no time in coordinating resources to help Djibouti cope with the pandemic. The Chinese central government dispatched three batches of medical materials and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region one batch of medical resources. The China Merchants Group along with other Chinese companies in Djibouti, the Chinese Business Council in Djibouti, the Red Cross Society of China and the Jack Ma Foundation all made donations to Djibouti in cash or in kind.

What's more, the Chinese side held several videoconferences, inviting top Chinese medical experts to share their diagnosis and treatment experience with health officials and experts in Djibouti, thus contributing Chinese wisdom to Djibouti's anti-pandemic efforts.

Since the virus first emerged, the Chinese government has extended equal care and support to all foreign citizens living in China, including Djiboutian nationals. Chinese universities and colleges have attached great importance to the life and health of foreign students and offered them all possible help, including supply of masks and cleaning products, multiple lingual hotlines and information platforms. All students from Djibouti in China are safe, with no infections reported. And I had the honor to receive appreciation from the Djiboutian government and many parents whose children are studying in China.

The Chinese embassy has established a sound relationship with the Djibouti health authorities, which admitted Chinese citizens for free hospital treatment once they tested positive for the virus. Thanks to this, the affected Chinese citizens recovered quickly and have been discharged from hospital. The embassy will keep offering disease prevention guidance to Chinese citizens in Djibouti, giving them the best help possible.

After completing two weeks of intensive work in Ethiopia, the first Chinese medical experts team to Africa arrived in Djibouti on April 30. It was at short notice and they had to abandon their plan of going back home before the International Workers' Day holiday, but they lost no time. During the 12 days of their stay in Djibouti, they went straight into medical institutions at the primary level and communities. They shared their experience with their Djiboutian counterparts in full, and contributed in a big way to the prevention and treatment of the disease.

Their expertise and professionalism were widely acclaimed. Djiboutian Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed awarded the Independence Day Medals to the Chinese experts and Foreign Minister Youssouf and Health Minister Mohamed Warsama Dirieh gave them certificates of merit.

Ever since the novel coronavirus broke out, some countries have been engaged in discriminating and stigmatizing activities. The Djiboutian government has on several occasions expressed opposition against such practices and called upon all countries to work together to contain the spread of the virus and combat the economic and social fallout of the pandemic instead of politicizing it. Both China and Djibouti have staunchly upheld the World Health Organization's leadership role and enhanced international anti-pandemic cooperation.

President Xi Jinping has stressed several times that the pandemic has shown that humankind is a community with a shared future. It is our firm conviction that only by working together can countries defeat the virus. China will stay committed to the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and the principle of sincerity, honesty, affinity and good faith. China will also strengthen cooperation and solidarity, and support and help Djibouti as well as other African countries to the best of its ability in fighting against the pandemic, recovering socioeconomic development and safeguarding people's live and safety.

It has been 41 years since China and Djibouti established diplomatic ties and the two countries have become sincere, reliable and long-term partners. The bilateral relationship has witnessed sound and steady growth, and fruitful results have been achieved in many areas of pragmatic cooperation.

The two sides have also conducted productive cooperation within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and China-Arab States Cooperation Forum and made positive progress in the joint contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative. Both countries have gained tangible and substantial benefits in this process. I believe that our joint efforts and cooperation in fighting the virus will further elevate the brotherly relations to a higher level, open up a new chapter of the strategic partnership and promote the building of a China-African community for health and a community with a shared future for mankind.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to Djibouti. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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