The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape called for solidarity and cooperation from the international community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, during the opening ceremony of the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in east China’s Shanghai Municipality.

In his opening remarks, Marape called the year 2020 “special” as mankind is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the international community to uphold solidarity to fight both the virus and the global economic recession brought by the outbreak.

“2020 is special. Human beings are fighting a fierce war with a lethal virus. The COVID-19 global pandemic is yet to be fully controlled and all countries are suffering from the severe impact. We, the humankind, are all equals in this fight against this invisible virus. The virus can only be defeated by solidarity, confidence and cooperation, which is also the only way toward global economy recovery. It is therefore timely and commendable to hold this great expo at this critical time. I want to congratulate our host on the success in containing the pandemic, which is very impressive and injected hope and confidence into the international community,” the Papua New Guinean PM said.

The prime minister added that Papua New Guinea has been benefited from the expo since 2018, as the international procurement platform has linked the island country with the vast Chinese market and the Asian market.

He also believes the expo will spur the recovery of global trade, which will boost the recovery of the global economy.

“This expo, as a major international procurement platform under the framework of the Belt & Road Initiative, will undoubtedly open up new horizons for other countries to share the opportunities generated by China’s recovery and growth. PNG has participated in the first two expos since 2018, which proved to be a very rewarding experience.

The expo is a gateway for PNG to be connected to China and Asia, which will benefit our companies and our people. This year’s event will further open the huge Chinese market for high-quality products from PNG and other countries, giving much-needed energy to global trade and economic growth at this very difficult time,” Marape said.

Marape added:

the international community needs to embrace multilateralism and cooperation to meet the pressing global challenges.

“I believe that through joining the Belt & Road Initiative, PNG will be able to unlock our economic potential, reach our marginalized populations, build connectivity through infrastructure development, and bring services and prosperity closer to our people.”

“The pandemic again taught us that the world is a community of shared future, and we support this great recent initiative by President Xi Jinping. Unilateralism and protectionism will never be the only answer to meet the challenges we are facing.

It has become all the more important for us to uphold multilateralism, pursue open development and strengthen international cooperation and tide over the hard times that the world is facing. Every nation is called upon to join this endeavour to build a secure, healthy and prosperous future for all mankind,” he said.