By Payman Yazdani

China was, is, and will be peace builder and promoter in West Asia: envoy

May 17, 2020 - 18:37

TEHRAN- Chinese ambassador to Tehran Chang Hua in an interview with the Mehr News Agency criticizes the U.S. baseless accusations over the outbreak of coronavirus. 

Ambassador Chang also said, "China was, is and will be peace and stability builder and promoter in the region."

On Saturday, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs published an article on COVID-19, rebutting claims from the U.S. on ties between COVID-19 and China. In the article, China rejected 24 claims.

Following the U.S. accusations against China, there have been some reports on the U.S. possible measures to punish China. 

According to CNN, the Trump administration is formulating a long-term plan to punish China on multiple fronts for the coronavirus pandemic, injecting a rancorous new element into a critical relationship already on a steep downward slide.

Multiple sources inside the U.S. administration said that there is an appetite to use various tools, including sanctions, canceling U.S. debt obligations, and drawing up new trade policies, to make clear to China, and to everyone else, where they feel the responsibility lies.

To shed more light on the issue Mehr reached out to Ambassador Chang to discuss the issue and some other issues with him.

Here is the full text of the interview:

Q: It seems that the U.S. is trying to create an international consensus against China by repeating accusations that China has not provided the international community with the right information about COVID-19. What is your take of this? What are the real motives behind this?

A: Certain people in the U.S., out of political calculations, went from bad to worse, stigmatizing and smearing China with all they've got in an attempt to shift the blame. China has been open, transparent and responsible in releasing information on the epidemic. It can stand the test of history. We hope the U.S. can also make sure that what they say and do and their data is responsible to the people and could stand the test of history.

When Wuhan was locked down on January 23, there was only one officially confirmed case in the U.S. When the U.S. closed its border to China on February 2, there were 11. When the U.S. announced a nationwide emergency state on March 13, there were 1264. When the lockdown was lifted in Wuhan on April 8, there were already 400,000. Today, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. tops 1.3 million with more than 80,000 deaths. It took less than 100 days for the number to jump from just one to over one million. What has the U.S. government been doing during these 100 days? The WHO head said that to all countries around the world, the warning from China is the same and the signal is clear. Why is it that some countries made adequate reactions and effective interventions, while the U.S. failed to do so? Blaming others won't solve one's own problems and bring back lost lives. We genuinely hope that those American politicians who are so bent on the blame game will change course and focus on fighting the epidemic inside the U.S. so that more lives will be saved and their people's health and security be better protected.

Q: If the U.S. and its allies become able to create such a consensus against China, what can be the consequences for China?

A: The U.S. is exerting pressure on its Allies and on other countries as well. Actually the U.S. is asking them to be an accomplice in framing China. As we all know, the U.S., out of domestic political needs, has repeatedly ignored the facts so that it can dump the blame on others. It is true that a choice has to be made by Europe and others, not between China and the U.S., but between lies and facts, between unilateral bullying and multilateral cooperation. It is easy to make such a choice and in fact, many countries have done so with action. On strengthening solidarity and cooperation to combat the epidemic, China has always stood firmly with the UN, the WHO, and other countries and made every possible contribution, while the U.S. stands on the opposite side of the vast majority of the international community.

Q: Do you see any relation between these claims and the U.S. major strategy to contain Beijing as its main rival?

A: The development of China-U.S. relations over the past 40 years has proven that China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. China-U.S. relations have far gone beyond the bilateral scope and assumed great significance to world peace, security, stability, and prosperity. While China-U.S. relations once again stand at a crossroads, China has always been on the side of cooperation and hopes the United States meet us halfway.

Q: How do you see the cooperation between Iran and China in the fight against COVID-19? How did you find Iran’s capabilities and medical infrastructures in this fight?

A: In this fight against the epidemic, the solidarity and mutual assistance between China and Iran fully demonstrate the profound friendship between the two countries and peoples.

Chinese and Iranian high-level officials maintain close communication. President Xi Jinping and President Rouhani have held telephone conversations and exchanged letters. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Zarif have also made several phone calls. At the critical moment of the Chinese people's fight against the epidemic, Iran was the first country to extend sympathy and provide materials to China. We will always remember that. After the outbreak of the epidemic in Iran, the Chinese government and various institutions, enterprises, and the public of China also extended a helping hand to Iran. China sent its first medical expert team to Iran to assist its fight against the epidemic. The epidemic has caused temporary difficulties for bilateral cooperation but cannot cut off the strong ties between the two countries. The epidemic will end, and the mutual support during the epidemic will surely consolidate and further our comprehensive strategic partnership.

We are happy to see that under the leadership of the Iranian government and with solidarity and the rigorous response of the Iranian people, the measures taken by Iran are producing results as its epidemic curve is steadily leveling off. WHO officials also commended Iran’s response, saying that Iran ’s health officials and medical workers are working very hard to contain the epidemic and save lives. The government is also mobilizing the strong national health system and disaster management capabilities to tackle the epidemic. We are confident in the Iranian government and people’s last victory over the epidemic.

Q: Many believe there will be fundamental changes to the world order in post-corona era. What is your assessment?

A: The international order is always changing in the direction in favor of the common interest and homeland of mankind. The current international order was established after World War II and centered on the United Nations with multilateralism as its basic norm.  It lays the foundation for peace, stability, and common development of the world conforms to the trend of peace, development, win-win cooperation of our times, and should be cherished and upheld by the international community. The Covid-19 epidemic has made it clear to various countries that mankind rise and fall together and that only through building a community with a shared future can mankind find the right path to future, and only with solidarity and cooperation can countries remove prejudice and achieve synergy in epidemic response.

What will the world look like in the post-epidemic era? Some people argue that the world will never return to the past. I believe that the epidemic will not change the world theme of peace and development, nor will it stop the historical trend of multi-polarization and globalization and mankind’s yearning for civilization and progress.

Q: Do you see any relation between the U.S.'s recent decision to withdraw its patriot air-missile air-defense system from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. efforts to endanger the energy route in the Middle East (West Asia) that China’s economy is heavily dependent on the oil coming from the region?

A: As a major energy importer and consumer in the world, China hopes that the international energy market could be kept stable. The mutual trust between nations and close interaction of interest through cooperation is the reliable guarantee to security, while military deterrence is not. As to the regional security in the Middle East, China has made its own contribution to the security and stability of the Middle East in accordance with UN resolutions and the aspirations of regional countries. China was, is, and will remain a builder of peace, a promoter of stability, and a contributor to the development of the Middle East.
 

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