Over the past 2,000 years, the ancient Silk Road has witnessed the mutual assistance of the Chinese and Uzbek people. Since the beginning of this year, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has once again enabled the two peoples to write a story of solidarity.
The leaders of the two countries have set the standard for the cooperation between the two countries. The two heads of state have maintained close communication and guided bilateral cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. When China was at the height of the crisis, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev sent a letter of sympathy to Chinese President Xi Jinping and personally ordered a special plane to deliver two batches of medical supplies to China. After the outbreak of COVID-19 in Uzbekistan in mid-March, President Xi expressed sympathy to President Mirziyoyev and spoke with him by phone on May 7 to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation under the pandemic situation and the two leaders reached a broad consensus.
People from all walks of life in the two countries support and help each other. During the peak of the pandemic in China, our Uzbek brothers and sisters provided us with valuable moral support and material assistance. A young man from Uzbekistan carried on his back and shoulders tens of thousands of masks and medicines for teachers and students in Guangzhou. The Uzbek people spontaneously recorded videos of “Go China, Go Wuhan” to support and encourage China. Batches of masks and other medical supplies purchased in Uzbekistan were sent to China.
When Uzbekistan was hit by the pandemic, China also acted quickly and came to its aid. From the central government to local governments, from enterprises to the people, China has aided Uzbekistan with several batches of medical supplies, including ventilators, medical masks and testing reagents.
On April 17, 15 members of the joint medical team sent by the Chinese government arrived at Tashkent International Airport by chartered plane. Uzbek Vice-Minister of Health Bahodir Nizomov extended a warm welcome to the Chinese experts. He said: “We have been looking forward to the arrival of the experts for a long time. You have rich experience in fighting against the pandemic. We believe that the valuable experience will help Uzbekistan to overcome the pandemic as soon as possible.”
Within 10 days, the Chinese joint working group visited more than 30 medical and health institutions in seven cities and towns and shared effective anti-pandemic plans with Uzbek colleagues without any reservation. The visit yielded fruitful results and made important contributions to deepening China-Uzbekistan anti-pandemic cooperation and building a “Silk Road of Health”.
On the morning of April 28, when the joint working group set off to return China after the successful completion of various tasks, Uzbek Vice-Foreign Minister Dilshod Akhatov saw them off at the airport, extending appreciation for their hard work and the experience they shared during their stay in Uzbekistan in fighting against the pandemic. He also said that under the guidance of President Mirziyoyev and President Xi, Uzbekistan and China will actively carry out anti-pandemic cooperation. The large amount of materials, technology and experience provided by China to Uzbekistan has greatly enhanced the confidence of the Uzbek people. Uzbekistan will continue to work closely with China to win the battle against the pandemic at an early date and take this opportunity to comprehensively strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in the field of modern and traditional medicine.
At the beginning of May, a dam burst occurred in Province de Syr-Daria due to days of heavy rain, which made the situation worse for the local people. The Chinese embassy in Uzbekistan responded quickly, collected 6 metric tons of emergency relief materials and sent them to the disaster area in a short time to help the local people rebuild their homes. The Chinese people and the Uzbek people stood firmly together at this difficult time.
The two countries share similar positions and the same philosophy in fighting against the pandemic. Our two countries have always put the safety and health of our people first. After the outbreak of the pandemic, we resolutely adopted strict and effective control measures, such as city closures, work stop-offs and school suspensions, to contain the spread of the virus in a relatively short period of time and make important contributions to the global fight against the pandemic.
The two countries advocate and practice multilateralism, firmly support the leading role of the United Nations and the World Health Organization in international cooperation against COVID-19, and provide assistance within our capacity to other countries by sending medical teams and providing anti-pandemic supplies. As Eastern nations, both countries have people with a strong sense of self-discipline and a sense of community. They can strictly follow the instructions for pandemic prevention and control and make their own positive contributions to the fight against the pandemic.
We are pleased to see that China has made breakthroughs in pandemic prevention and control, basically halting the spread of the virus in China, and accelerating the resumption of work and production. The spread of the virus in Uzbekistan has also been effectively contained in a relatively short period of time, and the overall situation is stabilizing for the better.
In this unprecedented fight against COVID-19, China and Uzbekistan have stood shoulder to shoulder and acted in concert to uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, setting a good example for countries around the world to cooperate in fighting against the pandemic.
As President Xi pointed out in his speech at the opening ceremony of the videoconference of the 73 World Health Assembly, mankind is a community with a shared future, and solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons to defeat the pandemic. China is ready to continue to strengthen cooperation with Uzbekistan in the fight against the COVID-19, tap the potential of medical and health cooperation between the two countries, make greater strides in building a “Silk Road of Health” and provide new impetus for the rapid development of China-Uzbekistan comprehensive strategic partnership.
The author is the Chinese ambassador to Uzbekistan. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.