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Wang Yi: Despite COVID-19, Belt and Road Cooperation does not Come to a Halt, but Braves the Headwinds and Continues to Move Forward

On June 23, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi presided over the Asia and Pacific High-level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation via video link.

Wang Yi said, last year, despite the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, Belt and Road cooperation did not come to a halt. It braved the headwinds and continued to move forward, showing remarkable resilience and vitality.

Together, we have put up an international firewall of cooperation against COVID-19. China and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partners have held over 100 meetings to share experience on COVID prevention and control. By mid-June, China has provided more than 290 billion masks, 3.5 billion protective suits and 4.5 billion testing kits to the world, and helped many countries build testing labs. China is engaged in extensive vaccine cooperation with many countries, and has donated and exported more than 400 million doses of finished and bulk vaccines to more than 90 countries, most of which are BRI partners.

Together, we have provided a stabilizer for the world economy. We have held dozens of BRI international conferences to share development experience, coordinate development policies, and advance practical cooperation. We have kept most BRI projects going. Energy cooperation under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor provides one-third of Pakistan's power supply. The Katana Water Supply Project in Sri Lanka has made safe drinking water available to 45 villages there. Statistics show that last year, trade in goods between China and BRI partners registered a record 1.35 trillion U.S. dollars, making a significant contribution to the COVID response, economic stability and people's livelihood of relevant countries.

Together, we have built new bridges for global connectivity. China has carried out Silk Road e-commerce cooperation with 22 partner countries. This has helped sustain international trade flows throughout the pandemic. In 2020, the China-Europe Railway Express, which runs through the Eurasian continent, hit new record numbers in both freight services and cargo volumes. In the first quarter of this year, the Express dispatched 75 percent more trains and delivered 84 percent more TEUs of goods than in the same period last year. Hailed as a "steel camel fleet", the Express has truly lived up to its name and played an important role in giving countries the support they need in fighting COVID.

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