From promising to make its vaccines a global public good to joining the COVAX facility backed by the World Health Organization, China has been active in promoting global vaccine cooperation advocated by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Xi has engaged in intensive “cloud diplomacy,” including attending or chairing virtual meetings and having phone calls with foreign leaders and heads of international organizations, to make China’s contributions to the research, development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
The following are some highlights of his remarks. During his phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in November 2020, Xi said 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.
Speaking at the 12th BRICS summit in November that also gathered leaders from Russia, India, South Africa and Brazil, Xi said China has designated its own national vaccine R&D center and will work with other BRICS countries both online and offline to advance collective vaccine research and trials, set up plants, authorize the production and recognize each other’s standards.
At the general debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, Xi said at the moment, several COVID-19 vaccines developed by China are in Phase III clinical trials. When their development is completed and they are available for use, the vaccines will be provided to other developing countries on a priority basis.
During the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 in June, Xi said, “We pledge that once the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit.”
When addressing the opening of the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly in May, Xi said COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good, which will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.