BEIJING, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday urged the international community to step up support for Africa's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and actively participate in the initiative endorsed by the Group of 20 (G20) to suspend debt service payments for the world's poorest countries.
Xi made the remarks in a telephone conversation with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Noting that the spread of COVID-19 is accelerating in Africa, Xi said that under Ramaphosa's leadership, the South African government has adopted a series of epidemic response measures and achieved positive results.
China will continue to provide firm support and as much assistance as its capacity allows for South Africa, and strengthen bilateral medical and health cooperation, he said.
China, he added, is willing to maintain regular communication with South Africa, and boost coordination on multilateral platforms such as BRICS, the G20 and the United Nations, so as to push for greater development of the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership and jointly safeguard the fundamental interests of the two and also other developing countries.
Meanwhile, Xi stressed that China and Africa enjoy a profound traditional friendship and trust each other, and that they are good friends, good partners and good brothers.
The Chinese side empathizes with the dual pressure faced by African countries from the epidemic and the economic downturn, Xi said, adding that while still facing great pressure in its own battle against the epidemic, China has provided a substantial amount of anti-epidemic supplies in multiple shipments for the African Union and African countries.
China has also actively dispatched medical teams to African countries, held video conferences of experts with the African side, and carried out exchanges on diagnostic and therapeutic technologies without reservation, he said.
Under the current circumstances, China and Africa need more than ever to stick together, combat the disease in solidarity, and jointly overcome the ongoing crisis, said Xi, adding that the Chinese people will continue to stand firmly with their brothers and sisters in Africa.
Xi also suggested that the two sides support the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) in playing their active roles in coordinating global anti-epidemic cooperation.
China, he said, is willing to join hands with the African side to build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
For his part, Ramaphosa said that South Africa and China share common ground on many issues and enjoy solid and sound relations, adding that his country supports China's stances on the Taiwan question and other issues concerning China's core interests and is willing to work closely with China to safeguard the two countries' common interests.
Ramaphosa thanked China for continuously providing valuable assistance and support for African countries, saying that China is a true friend of South Africa and other African countries as well as a partner that can be relied on when they are faced with difficulties and challenges.
The African Union and African countries firmly support the United Nations and the WHO doing their work and playing an active role in international anti-epidemic cooperation, he added.