China Daily Global Publishes A Signed Article by Ambassador Jin Zhijian Entitled Long-time Supporters
2020/03/25

On March 25, China Daily Global published a signed article by Ambassador Jin Zhijian entitled Long-time Supporters. The full text is as follows:

The novel coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, Hubei province, ahead of the Chinese New Year, producing huge shock waves throughout the country at a time when people would usually be immersed in joy. At the critical juncture, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government acted quickly and led the whole nation in launching a large-scale battle against the epidemic by mobilizing all resources, and blocking the spread of the virus.

The outbreak in China has drawn broad attention from the government and public in Iceland. The Icelandic president, prime minister, parliament speaker and a number of ministers expressed their concern and support to China in different ways and spoke highly of the Chinese government and the Chinese people’s efforts in fighting against the epidemic. The Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has written a letter to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in which she conveyed sympathy and support of the Icelandic people for China's valiant efforts to contain the outbreak of novel coronavirus, and expressed full confidence in China's firm resolve to take all necessary measures to prevent any further spread of the disease.

The public support for China in Iceland has been heartwarming. In early February, Icelandic Chinese Cultural Society and Kopavogur, Wuhan’s friendship city, took the lead at what became a love relay. They immediately sent their letters of support to Wuhan and China, demonstrating that “Friendship, which derives from close contact between the people, holds the key to sound state-to-state relations.” and the deep foundation of people-to-people friendship between China and Iceland.

Iceland’s art and entertainment industry followed their lead. Musician Doctor Victor pointed out that: “The virus is our common enemy, not Wuhan, China, or anyone else. So instead of letting virus divide us, let's unite and fight the epidemic together.” Spread on social media, this message was shared among Chinese netizens and received a large number of likes. Icelandic friends working at Icelandair Holidays China and children studying Chinese made videos in both English and Chinese, saying “Go China! Come on, Wuhan!”. Pictures of “Hearts”, “Come on”, and the donations of people to help those in Wuhan were moving. Overseas Chinese people and students in Iceland stood up when China needed help. The Icelandic Overseas Chinese Association donated nearly 1.57 million kronur ($11,200), and donated medical supplies such as surgical masks and protective clothing to Wuhan Tongji Hospital, so as to make their own contribution to China’s fight against the epidemic.

On Feb 28, the first case was confirmed in Iceland. Subsequently, the number of confirmed cases increased rapidly, which aroused the great concern of the Chinese government. On 17 March, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a letter to Mr. Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation of Iceland, conveying his sincere sympathy to the patients and their families in Iceland who are suffering from the COVID-19 epidemic. He stressed that China appreciated the great support of Iceland in China’s critical moment to fight against COVID-19. China would like to share information and experience with Iceland on medical treatment as well as prevention and control of the epidemic, and offer possible assistance to Iceland.

After I learned of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Iceland, I immediately expressed my sympathy to the Icelandic people through interviews with many Icelandic media, and expressed the commitment of the Chinese people to stand firmly with the Icelandic people in the face of the challenge presented by the pandemic. For days, the embassy maintained close communication with the Icelandic health authorities, and provided important information and experience to fight the virus in time. The Director of Health from the Directorate of Health of Iceland and her fellow colleagues were invited to participate in the China-Europe Video Conference on COVID-19 on March 19, and discussed with medical personnel from China and Europe about the plan to fight against the pandemic.

Many Chinese people have also expressed their best wishes to the Icelandic people through different channels, and some Chinese companies have actively explored specific ways to provide aid to Iceland.

Although thousands of miles apart, our friendship is as strong as stone. Whether it was the help China offered after the volcanic eruption in Iceland in 1973 or during the financial crisis of 2008-09, or Iceland helping China after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, people from our two countries have always stood together and supported each other during difficult times. The outbreak of COVID-19 has once again tied the two countries together. The epidemic knows no borders. Only with cooperation, can we win the fight against it. It is believed that in the near future, the virus will be defeated, China-Iceland cooperation will reach a new level, and the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind will bring new hope to the whole world.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to Iceland. 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.

The article can also be read on line:

https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/25/WS5e7a9ab4a310128217281b5d.html