President Xi Jinping will take part in the Global Health Summit on Friday via video link from Beijing, joining leaders of the Group of 20 members and heads of international and regional organizations in efforts to boost global cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi will deliver a speech at the event, which will take place at Villa Pamphilj in Rome. The summit was organized by Italy, the holder of the G20 presidency, in partnership with the European Commission.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China expects the summit to send a strong message to uphold multilateralism and enhance solidarity and cooperation in the global fight against the pandemic.
As COVID-19 is making a resurgence and spreading globally, Zhao said international cooperation in combating the virus is at a critical juncture.
China hopes the summit will fully leverage the G20's role in responding to global crises and enable the platform to continue to actively guide worldwide anti-pandemic cooperation. This will help inject confidence and momentum into concerted efforts to prevail over the pandemic, improve worldwide health governance and jointly build a global community of health for all, he added.
The summit aims to develop and endorse a "Rome Declaration" of principles that can be a powerful guide for further multilateral cooperation and joint action to prevent future global health crises as well as a shared commitment to build a healthier, safer, fairer and more sustainable world.
Since the outbreak started in late 2019, China has been staunchly advocating international cooperation in fighting COVID-19. In addition to providing medical equipment and supplies to other countries, it has also committed to making Chinese-developed vaccines available for the public good of the world.
While leading the nation in the people's war against the virus, Xi has said on various occasions the international community should work together to contain the pandemic, help the global economy recover and promote access to and affordability of vaccines for developing countries.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in a message published on the summit's website that it will "provide a timely opportunity to share the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic".
"We will discuss how to improve health security, strengthen our health systems and enhance our ability to deal with future crises in a spirit of solidarity," Draghi said.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said in another message on the website: "The world needs to be better prepared to protect humanity against future pandemics. We have to learn our lessons, and all countries need to better work together for improving global health security."