Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met ASEAN Secretary General, Philippine and Singaporean Foreign Ministers on Wednesday night to discuss the joint combat against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

During his meeting with ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, Wang said the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease to be held on Thursday will send a positive signal that China and ASEAN countries are fighting the COVID-19 epidemic together, and China-ASEAN relations will further develop.

Public health is a common cause crossing national borders, and China is willing to enhance cooperation with ASEAN in this area, so as to inject new content to China-ASEAN relations, Wang said.

The Chinese side hopes the ASEAN Secretariat will continue to lead and coordinate ASEAN to firmly pursue China-friendly policies, and play an active role in pushing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to be signed as scheduled, he added.

For his part, Lim said that China is an important strategic partner of ASEAN. In face of the novel coronavirus epidemic, ASEAN firmly stands with China.

ASEAN is willing to work with China to strengthen cooperation on health security in the frameworks of ASEAN-China (10+1) and ASEAN-China-Japan-South Korea (10+3), he added.

Next year is the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations, Lim said, the ASEAN Secretariat is willing to actively push forward the docking of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

While meeting Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Wang said the Philippine government has offered firm support to China in fighting the novel coronavirus epidemic. He believed that the friendship and trust between the peoples of the two countries will be deepened and strengthened after standing the test of the battle against the epidemic.

Wang said China attaches great importance to developing ties with the Philippines and will as always support the Philippines in safeguarding its own legitimate rights and interests.

Wang thanked the Philippines, which serves as a coordinating country for China-ASEAN relations, for its organising and coordinating work for Thursday’s Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease, which will send out a clear signal that China and ASEAN are joining hands to meet the common challenge, and they will explore and reach new consensus on boosting cooperation on regional health.

Locsin said the Philippine government and its people speak highly of and support the effective measures China has taken to fight the epidemic.

The foreign secretary said the Philippines will do its best to work for the unity and cooperation between China and ASEAN.

During his meeting with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Wang said he hopes Thursday’s Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease will not only explore on ways to cope with the epidemic, but also push forward the cooperation on public health in the region and promote the capacity of regional countries in meeting the challenges of public health such as this epidemic.

Wang thanked the support Singapore has provided to China in fighting the disease which once again embodies the excellent tradition between the two countries of always supporting and helping each other in difficult times.

Wang said the friendship between the two countries will be deepened in fighting the epidemic and the cooperation between the two countries will be widened after the epidemic.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between the two sides and China is ready to maintain high-level exchanges with Singapore, Wang said.

For his part, Balakrishnan said China has been dealing with the epidemic with a highly responsible manner and taking measures rarely seen in the world. China has also shared information with the international community at the first moment, thus offering valuable help to countries including Singapore.

Singapore highly appreciates and respects China’s arduous endeavour and sacrifice, said the Singaporean minister, adding that his country would continue to firmly support China.

Singapore is willing to promote communication and cooperation with China, sparing no effort in decreasing the effects caused by the epidemic, in order to restore normal exchanges, Balakrishnan said.

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Singapore and China, the Singapore side expects to frequent high-level exchanges with China, steadily push forward the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, actively promote the RCEP and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation, he noted.

Wang is in Vientiane, capital of Laos, for the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease and the fifth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Thursday.