China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun on Thursday asked the Security Council to push for positive responses to the UN Secretary General’s appeal for a global cease-fire amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As it has adopted a resolution endorsing the appeal, the Security Council should work to accelerate its realisation, said Zhang Jun.

The International Community should seize the opportunity to encourage the parties to conflicts to respond to the appeal, immediately cease hostilities, jointly fight the pandemic, save lives and seek peaceful settlements through political and diplomatic means, he told a high-level debate on the implications of COVID-19 on International Peace & Security.

Zhang also asked the Security Council to step up humanitarian assistance and make every effort to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers.

The Security Council should urge relevant countries to immediately lift unilateral sanctions that might affect a country’s capacity to respond to COVID-19, he said. The Security Council should also explore ways to eliminate unilateral coercive measures so as to lessen people’s sufferings in affected countries.

COVID-19 continues to rage across the world. All countries face the daunting tasks of fighting the disease, saving lives, stabilising the economy and ensuring livelihood, said Zhang. “We must put people and life first, do our utmost to protect people’s safety and health, and minimise the impact of the virus. The pandemic once again proves that we live in a global village and have a shared destiny.”

Solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon in fighting the pandemic. China is ready to work with all parties, upholding the UN-centred international system and supporting the leading role of the World Health Organisation in the global fight against COVID-19, said Zhang.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has provided assistance in various forms to more than 150 countries and international organisations. China has proposed recommendations and measures on the global fight against COVID-19, including its decisions to make its vaccine, once available, a global public good; to provide 2 billion U.S. dollars in international aid to affected countries, especially developing countries; to cancel government interest-free loans owed by African countries due to mature by the end of 2020; and to implement the Group of 20 debt service suspension initiative, said Zhang.

To strengthen international coordination, China also held an extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19 and a high-level video conference for international cooperation in the framework of the Belt & Road Initiative, he noted.