Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that as COVID-19 remains a pandemic and vaccines play a key role in humankind’s victory over it, China stands ready to promote cooperation with Morocco on COVID-19 vaccine development and production.

President Xi made the remarks in a telephone conversation in the night with Moroccan King Mohammed VI.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi extended sincere sympathies and firm support to the Moroccan government and people over their fight against the coronavirus disease.

Calling COVID-19 a daunting challenge for the whole world, Xi noted that the two countries have been standing together against the pandemic and that he and the king have exchanged letters multiple times.

Xi recalled that in the early days of China’s COVID-19 battle, Morocco offered China invaluable support and solidarity, and took care of Chinese citizens stranded in Morocco. Likewise, after COVID-19 broke out in Morocco, China has actively assisted the country with anti-epidemic supplies, he added.

The Chinese president said he has repeatedly made it clear that once a COVID-19 vaccine is developed and put into use in China, it will be made a global public good, and developing countries, especially African countries, will be among the first to benefit.

Meanwhile, he suggested that China and Morocco work with other countries to uphold multilateralism, support the World Health Organization in playing a leading role, and jointly safeguard the life and health of all people across the world.

China and Morocco, President Xi stressed, enjoy a profound traditional friendship with consistent mutual understanding and trust, and have firmly supported each other on issues concerning their respective core interests and major concerns.

China, he added, encourages competent Chinese companies to invest and do business in Morocco, and stands ready to work with Morocco to steadily bolster cooperation in various fields within such frameworks as the Belt & Road Initiative, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, draw a new blueprint for people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in the post-pandemic era, and push for new achievements in the China-Morocco strategic partnership.

Recalling that he and Xi jointly announced the establishment of the Morocco-China strategic partnership during his visit to China in 2016, King Mohammed VI said Morocco is very glad to have such a strategic partner as China.

Thanks to its strategic cooperation with China, he added, Morocco has achieved sound development in recent years.

The Moroccan side regards China as its top priority for cooperation, and hopes that the two sides will strengthen cooperation in various fields such as economy, trade, science and technology, and make their bilateral relations more dynamic, the king said.

The Moroccan side, he said, firmly supports China’s legitimate stance in safeguarding its core interests such as sovereignty and security.

King Mohammed VI also expressed his gratitude for China’s valuable support to Morocco in the fight against the pandemic, expressing hope that bilateral cooperation in vaccine research and development, procurement and production will be strengthened.