President Xi Jinping chairs the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Summit and delivers a keynote speech via video link in Beijing, capital of China, Feb 9, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING — Seeing vaccines as the ultimate solution to a victory over COVID-19, China is not merely pioneering research and development of vaccines, but pushing forward fair distribution and global cooperation of the antidote against the pandemic.
President Xi Jinping has been calling for international cooperation of the COVID-19 vaccines and fairer distribution to the developing world.
MAKE VACCINES PUBLIC GOODS
“Containing the coronavirus is the most pressing task for the international community,” Xi said when delivering a special address via video link at the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda on Jan 25. “It is especially important to scale up cooperation on the R&D, production and distribution of vaccines and make them public goods that are truly accessible and affordable to people in all countries.”
“By now, China has provided assistance to over 150 countries and 13 international organizations, sent 36 medical expert teams to countries in need, and stayed strongly supportive and actively engaged in international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines,” he told the Davos event.
In his keynote speech at the Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) on Feb 9, Xi said China will work with CEECs through solidarity, coordination and cooperation, promising that “China will continue to provide vaccines to countries in need to the best of its capability, and do what it can to make vaccines a global public good and promote their equitable distribution and application around the world.”
During the virtual summit, Xi said that Serbia has received 1 million doses of vaccines from a Chinese company, and there is ongoing cooperation between Hungary and Chinese vaccine companies, adding that China will actively consider such cooperation with other CEECs if there is a need.
COOPERATE IN FAIR DISTRIBUTION
As countries pin hopes of overcoming the pandemic on the rollout of vaccination campaigns, China has been cooperating with the international community to ensure fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
On Dec 9, 2020, Xi and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, held a phone conversation, reached a number of important consensus and instructed relevant departments of the two countries to step up implementation of the programs.
Among the consensus is actively participating in the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator Initiative and the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), increasing support for developing countries and ensuring that vaccines are a public good that is effectively accessible and affordable for all people around the world.
On Nov 24, 2020, in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Xi said that China stands ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Germany on COVID-19 vaccines and push for the vaccines to be fairly distributed as a global public good, especially for the benefit of developing countries.
On Nov 21, 2020, in his speech at the G20 Riyadh Summit via video link, Xi called on G20 members to support the World Health Organization (WHO) in coordinating resource allocation to ensure equitable and efficient distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
“We must first put the disease under control at home and, on that basis, strengthen exchanges and cooperation to help countries in need,” Xi said, adding that the G20 should speed up action and support the WHO in mobilizing and consolidating resources and distributing vaccines fairly and efficiently.
ASSISTANCE TO COUNTRIES IN NEED
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, China has provided vaccine assistance to 53 developing countries in need, and exported vaccines to 22 countries. China also decided to provide 10 million doses of domestic vaccine to the COVAX initiative to meet the urgent needs of developing countries.
In a telephone conversation with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, on Monday, the Chinese president said that China stands ready to work with Egypt to increase vaccine cooperation, cement international solidarity against COVID-19, and promote the building of a global community of health for all.
On Tuesday, Egypt received the first batch of China-made COVID-19 vaccines.
Also on Monday, in a telephone conversation with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Sadyr Zhaparov, Xi said that China is ready to support Kyrgyzstan’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic and deepen bilateral cooperation in such areas as vaccines.
Earlier this month, the Chinese side announced a decision to provide Kyrgyzstan with free COVID-19 vaccines.
When addressing the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit last November, Xi said that China stands ready to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to enhance policy dialogue on public health, information sharing and cooperation on the production, development and deployment of vaccines.
When its COVID-19 vaccines are available for use, China will actively consider the needs of ASEAN countries, he said.