Zambian Ambassador condemns politicizing COVID-19 cooperation, appreciates China’s assistance

By Li Qiao Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/29 0:48:40

Mrs. Winnie N. Chibesakunda, Ambassador of Zambia to China Photo: Li Hao/GT

Zambia's Ambassador to China said this novel coronavirus, which does not discriminate between nationalities or races, does not allow anybody to work in isolation. She calls for the world to cast aside political games and put all resources and research together to fight against COVID-19.

Ambassador Winnie N. Chibesakunda told the Global Times in an exclusive interview that "China has always been the one who assists Africa rapidly, not only for COVID-19. To politicize the generous help is not what we really need in helping Africa to save lives during the pandemic."

The first batch of anti-epidemic goods from China had been handed over to Zambia officially on April 28. However, some Western media smeared that China was pursuing a political agenda with "mask diplomacy."

Chibesakunda criticized such vilification and questioned why they do not talk about "desire diplomacy," referencing the positive contributions from China-Zambia cooperation.

"Before the pandemic, China had been helping Zambia to open up. When China came to bring us desire, why did no one call it 'desire diplomacy?'" said Chibesakunda. 

She said that anytime Zambia was in need, China always came to provide assistance which shows true friendship

Since 1978, the Chinese government has sent a total of 574 medical staff to Zambia in 21 batches. They have treated more than 3 million patients in Zambia, carried out more than 20,000 operations, and introduced and implemented more than 700 new medical technologies and projects, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The assistance did not just start from COVID-19. People that smeared China should check our historical bilateral relations," Chibesakunda noted.

"I wish to state that China has shown global leadership and demonstrated a strong resolve to assist countries in fighting the spread of COVID-19 by supplying medical supplies and technical teams to various countries, both developed and developing, despite her own challenges at home," she said.

As an example, Zambia has benefitted from the Jack Ma Foundation's donation of COVID-19 test kits, protective equipment for front line staff, masks and thermal meters, among other contributions.

"My country Zambia has been one of the beneficiaries of this assistance during these challenging times and for this we remain very grateful to the Chinese government, its private sector and the people of China for this benevolence," Chibesakunda told the Global Times.

Given the capacity challenges faced by many African countries with their health systems, this timely assistance by China will help save lives and give time to African governments to build domestic capacity to deal with the crisis, she noted.

"Toward this pandemic, we see so many questions about who did that, when it occurred. I have never read any documentary showing that the world blamed Spain for the Spanish flu. Why should we do this now?" she asked.

It becomes imperative that an infectious condition in one part of the world should be of concern to all nations as it can easily spread to other nations. This therefore leaves little room for non-scientific speculations and calls for collaborative global efforts in pandemic containment.

"How I wish the world fight against the virus as a whole, but not blaming anyone," she noted. 


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