Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 18, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)
GENEVA, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- China and the World Health Organization (WHO) pledged here Wednesday to step up health cooperation under the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
A memorandum of understanding in this regard was signed between the two sides at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, witnessed by visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.
"China welcomes the WHO's active participation in the construction of the Belt and Road, and of a 'healthy' Silk Road," Xi said during a meeting with Chan.
Chan echoed Xi's remarks, saying that the WHO is willing to enhance cooperation with China under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, amid efforts to improve the public health in countries along the Belt and Road.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, refers to the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
During their meeting, President Xi briefed Chan on China's health policy and development, especially the Outline of the Healthy China 2030 Plan issued by the central government in 2016, saying that China hopes the WHO can continue to offer professional assistance.
Xi lauded the cooperation between China and the WHO as "exemplary," noting that China stands ready to enhance cooperation with the WHO in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and assisting other developing countries.
China appreciates the WHO's adherence to the one-China principle, and believes it will continue to uphold this important political principle, Xi said.
Chan praised China's important contributions to global health and the WHO's work over the past years, as well as China's drive to improve its people's health.
The WHO will continue to support China's efforts in deepening medical and health reform, and continue to firmly pursue the one-China principle, she said.
On the same day, the Chinese government presented a bronze acupuncture statue to the WHO, which shows acupuncture points on the human body. Xi and Chan unveiled the statue.
While addressing the presentation ceremony, Xi called for inheriting and making good use of traditional medicine, and promoting a better integration of traditional medicine and modern medicine. He said that China expects the WHO to play a bigger role in this respect.
Also on Wednesday, the WHO renewed its appointment of Xi's wife, Peng Liyuan, as Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. At the invitation of Chan and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, Peng attended a ceremony in Geneva hosted by the WHO to extend her service and present her awards for her outstanding work.
Peng was first appointed this role in 2011.