China will host two major global summits on the Belt and Road and combatting the COVID-19 pandemic this week.
First, Chinese President Xi Jinping will keynote a China-Africa Summit on COVID-19 this Wednesday, which will be held via video link. It is being co-sponsored by China and the current chairs of the African Union and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, South Africa and Senegal, respectively. Leaders of African countries, the AU, and major subregional African organizations will participate, joined by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Director General of the World Health Organization as special guests. “Convening this extraordinary summit at this crucial moment demonstrates once again the China-Africa brotherhood through thick and thin,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said today.
Second, the next day (Thursday), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will chair a high-level video conference on cooperation between Belt and Road countries, also on fighting COVID-19. The Chinese Foreign Ministry reported today that foreign ministers and ministerial-level officials from 25 countries are expected to participate, on the theme “Belt and Road International Cooperation: Combating COVID-19 with Solidarity.” They, too, will be joined by leading UN and WHO officials. Jointly sponsored by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Commerce and National Health Commission, the aim of this conference is “to implement the consensus of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, promote stronger cooperation on COVID-19 between BRI cooperation partners, conduct experience-sharing and policy coordination for resumption of work and production, and advance high-quality BRI cooperation,” the Foreign Ministry reported.
The Belt and Road Institute in Sweden organized two major seminars on these two themes, one in December 2019 on China-Africa cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.
The second event was a webinar held in April 2020 on the subject of the Health Silk Road and the role of the BRI in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.