Virtual Seminar on International Cooperation in Public Health Organised By The Shanghai Institutes For International Studies (SIIS) and EURISC Foundation, in partnership with the Middle East Political And Economic Institute (MEPEI)
The virtual seminar between SIIS, EURISC Foundation, and MEPEI was held on July 28th, 2020, bringing together representatives from the three think-tanks mentioned above, with the participation of H.E. Amb. Jiang Yu, Chinese Ambassador to Romania and H.E. Amb.Viorel Isticioaia Budura, former Romanian Ambassador to China.
The list of participants reunited the following specialists:
Mr. Flavius Caba Maria, President MEPEI
Prof. Chen Dongxiao, President of SIIS
Prof. Zhang Haibing, Assistant President of SIIS
Dr. Liu Kan, Senior research fellow, Institute of Global Governance, SIIS
Dr. Long Jing, Deputy Director of European Studies, SIIS
Prof. Zhang Yinghong, Director of European Studies, SIIS
Dr.Liviu Muresan, Executive President EURISC Foundation
Dr.Alexandru Georgescu, Senior Analyst for BRI and Critical Infrastructures, EURISC Foundation
Prof.Dr.Radu Musetescu, Director of the China Studies Centre ASE, EURISC Foundation
The moderator of the discussion was Dr. Long Jing. Also, opening remarks were presented by Dr. Liviu Muresan, Prof. Chen Dongxiao, H.E. Amb. Jiang Yu, and H.E. Amb. Viorel Isticioaia-Budura.
The key topics of discussion were the following:
- Introduction of “White Paper on European Critical Health Infrastructure”, by Alexandru Georgescu.
- China’s policy on international cooperation in public health, by Liu Kan.
After these main topics, there was a Q&A session, succeeded by an open discussion. The seminar concluded with a short recap of the topics by Flavius Caba-Maria.
The parties had an in-depth exchange of views on the impact of COVID-19 on the world situation, international cooperation in combating COVID-19, China-EU, and China-Romania relations.
Chinese researchers highlighted China’s concrete policies and actions on international public health cooperation, stressing that health cooperation is an important part of the Belt and Road initiative, and China is ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries to build together. a path of silk to health and a human community with a common destiny. Romanian experts presented the main content of the “White Paper on European Critical Health Infrastructure”, recently launched by the EURISC Foundation, noting that think tanks in Europe and China should have close exchanges and play an active role in promoting the development EU-China relations, jointly addressing the global crisis The two sides agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the complex evolution of the global situation and exposed the weaknesses and shortcomings of the current international public health governance system. Countries around the world should work together, build on, and learn from the successful experience in responding to the epidemic of relevant countries, address deficiencies, and constantly improve the global system of public health governance.
With regards to the content of the discussion, the main ideas that emerged were:
- “Trust, cooperation and collective mechanisms are needed in order to ensure global health security” – Liviu Muresan, underlining the opportunity represented by the seminar for the think tanks to exchange productive ideas and expertise regarding cooperation in the health sector, as well as the relations between China and the European countries. Also, he added that “It is important for think tanks to discuss and find potential developments to better understand what is going on, with the target of re-building trust – among institutions and citizens, among institutions, among countries,” reminding that SIIS has launched its report about health, while EURISC also published a White Paper of Health that is currently circulating around the world.
- “The pandemic increased the pace of transformations around the world, exposed the deficiencies of global public health and the shortages of cooperation in health, especially in vulnerable economies” – Chen Dongxiao, adding that “SIIS has published reports on our understanding of international cooperation and will work as a catalyst to facilitate international cooperation”.
- Ambassador Jiang Yu mentioned in her speech that this video conference is a new form of strengthening communication between the two countries’ think tanks under normal epidemic prevention and control conditions. “China has been actively engaging in international cooperation against the epidemic, providing assistance to more than 150 countries and international organizations, and striving to build a community of common health for mankind” – E. Amb. to Romania Jiang Yu. Also, H.E. stated that China and the EU have supported each other and conducted comprehensive cooperation in the fight against COVID-19. She stressed that China and Europe should work together to advance a series of important cooperation agendas, contributing to safeguarding global public health security and promoting world economic recovery, while highlighting the significance of promoting joint efforts to address the challenges of the epidemic and promoting the development of China-EU and China-Romania relations in the “post-epidemic era”. Also, H.E. presented China’s efforts and achievements in the epidemic and strives to build a common health community for humanity. China-Europe cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 is a living example of building a human community with a common future, it is also a vivid illustration of the comprehensive cooperation between China and Europe over the past 45 years. As two major forces in the world, two markets and two major civilizations, China and Europe should further strengthen cooperation to promote common prosperity and stability. Ambassador Jiang spoke about Sino-Romanian relations and mutual support between the two peoples in the fight against COVID-19.
- “We can look together for opportunities for further mutual understanding. The first step is to overcome challenges and to promote communication” – E. Amb. Viorel Isticioaia-Budura.
- In the end, Flavius Caba-Maria emphasized Romania in particular could present the opportunity of enabling a trilateral relationship. In what of the most sensitive points of the Middle East are concerned, there is an opportunity to bring some Eastern partners from the 17+1 format at the table with Chinese projects, for instance in the re-building process of Syria after its damaging war. In addition, Romania was a critical point for maintaining diplomatic contacts with the European Union (EU), which is one of the few EU Member States to keep its Embassy in Damascus open during the war in Syria (the Czech Republic, as well). It could support the traditional links and protect the interests of Romanian citizens live in Syria. The prestige and respect that Romania’s policy and approach have generated cannot be underestimated. The Syrian side also considers that Romania is a well-known country in Syria, representing a competitive advantage in relation to other foreign countries states, based on historical relations and privileged position.