China and Qatar are strategic partners, who have joined hands in the face of adversity, and are supporting each other and fighting side by side the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, the Chinese ambassador in Doha, Zhou Jian, told an online press conference.
He pointed out that it is Qatar which lent China a hand in the latter's most difficult time, and the Chinese people will always remember that.
“We will never forget that Qatar Airways has used its global network to deliver supplies to China. The sight of five fully-loaded cargo planes lined up on the runway of Hamad International Airport, with their engines roaring, each carrying 300-tonne medical supplies is unforgettable for me.”
“We will never forget the help from the Qatari people. The Qatar Table Tennis Association welcomed the Chinese team with their world-class facilities and hospitality. A Qatari businessman made a one-time donation of nearly 100,000 masks to China. These warm gestures were very reassuring against the epidemic winter,” he said.
The ambassador pointed out that China has shared its rich experience in containing the epidemic, including multiple versions of latest guidelines in prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment. “Further, it has opened an online knowledge centre, held video conferences with Qatari health experts, and introduced to Qatar its experience in epidemic prevention and control, clinical treatment, and social governance.”
He explained that some of Qatar's measures have followed China’s experience, such as national mobilisation, joint prevention and control, early detection, early reporting, early isolation and early treatment, as well as the construction of cabin hospitals. “This fully reflects the results of co-operation between the two sides.”
“We will provide assistance for Qatar to purchase medical supplies in China. Currently, many countries and organisations around the world have all requested to buy supplies from China. Despite our domestic demands, we have overcome our own difficulties, and did the best we could in the shortest time to respond to Qatar’s need. Only four days following Qatar’s request, we have found qualified and trustworthy companies, to export a total of 4mn medical masks and 640,000 disinfectants to Qatar,” said the ambassador.
"The Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Doha Branch are donating 1mn pairs of medical gloves and 7,000 sets of protective clothing. The first batch of 200,000 gloves was received by Qatar Charity. China Southern Airline and companies from Shanghai have also collected protective supplies for Qatar Airways, to pay back for what they have done to help China.
"Meanwhile all Chinese residents and companies here have played their part to co-operate and abide by the measures of Qatari government, committed to stay-at-home campaign to ensure no infection. Their efforts have made double contribution to epidemic prevention both for the Chinese community and local government," he said.
The Chinese envoy recalled that recently Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made an important and fruitful phone call with HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, during which they exchanged views on the joint efforts to contain the epidemic.
"Their phone call comes at a critical time as Qatar is fighting Covid-19. “Their Excellencies made in-depth communication following the phone call between President Xi Jinping and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. It is also a timely discussion regarding our co-operation to contain the coronavirus. They have reached consensus to advance international co-operation.
“This call has greatly strengthened the positive momentum of high-level communication between our two countries, which has deepened our friendship and co-operation. It will inject new impetus for the two sides to work together to contain the epidemic, and will open up new prospects for building a China-Qatar community of common health,” he said.
Regarding the impact of Covid-19 on China-Qatar Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) trade, he explained that China and Qatar are natural strategic partners in the field of LNG. Qatar is the largest exporter of LNG, and China is the world's largest importer.
"In order to achieve green and sustainable development, and to fulfill our commitments to climate change, China’s demand for LNG will continue to increase. As factories in China are now stepping up to resume production, the Chinese economy is back on track, and our demand for LNG will increase without any doubt."
Regarding the situation of air travel between China and Qatar in the face of the epidemic, the ambassador said that the Chinese side has always kept close communication with their Qatari friends regarding aviation affairs, and when the situation allows, will resume the regular flights back as usual.
"However, just days ago, Qatar Airways Cargo has resumed scheduled belly-hold cargo operations to China, with the utilisation of wide-body and passenger-configurated aircraft effective March 30.
"Qatar Airways is the first Middle Eastern carrier to resume belly-hold operations to all of its destinations in China, by repurposing the regular passenger flights for cargo transportation," he said.
The Chinese ambassador stressed that the origin of Covid-19 is a scientific matter that requires professional and scientific assessment. "The WHO and the international community have reached clear consensus to reject stigmatisation by linking the virus to specific countries or regions," he added.