COVID-19: Xi pledges additional 1bn vaccine doses – Taiwan News

China’s president said that his nation has exported more than 2 billion doses of its vaccines to more than 120 countries and international institutions

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Monday said that his nation would send an additional 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to other countries, calling for global cooperation to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, while urging other powers to discard a “Cold War mentality” — a veiled swipe at the US.

Xi touted China’s efforts to share vaccines, fight climate change and promote development in the opening speech of an online gathering hosted by the World Economic Forum.

The online event is being held after the group put off its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: AFP

Efforts to battle the global pandemic that has claimed more than 5.5 million lives and upended the world economy, and climate change were prominent themes.

Xi, who has not left China since COVID-19 emerged in early 2020, said that his nation has exported more than 2 billion doses of its vaccines to more than 120 countries and international institutions.

He announced plans to provide an additional 1 billion, including a donation of 600 million doses to Africa and an extra 150 million for Southeast Asia.

By comparison, managers of the UN-backed COVAX program to ship vaccines to developing nations announced over the weekend that it has now delivered 1 billion vaccine doses.

Xi touched on standard themes from previous international addresses, including responding to trading partners’ complaints by promising to open China’s state-dominated economy wider to private and foreign competition.

His comments come as tensions between the US and China have simmered on topics such as Taiwan, intellectual property, trade, human rights and the South China Sea.

“We need to discard ‘Cold War’ mentality, and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes,” Xi said through a translator. “Protectionism and unilateralism can protect no one… Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history” — terms Beijing has used to describe US policy and actions.

“A zero-sum approach that enlarges one’s own gain at the expense of others will not help,” he said. “The right way forward for humanity is peaceful development and win-win cooperation.”

Xi said China “stands ready to work with” other governments on climate change, but announced no new initiatives and offered no resources. He said it was up to developed nations to provide money and technology.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took up the environment in his address, pledging his nation’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

India’s growth in the next 25 years will be “green and clean, and also sustainable and reliable,” he said, stressing its commitment to solar power.

While Xi and Modi touted environmental efforts, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ratcheted up his concerns about the use of coal — both China and India are big users — in his call for “real climate action in developing countries.”

“Emissions must fall, but they continue to rise,” Guterres said in his address, appealing for debt relief for developing nations needing help weaning off coal.

Guterres pointed to his call for “coalitions” to help foster a clean energy transition, highlighting US-Chinese efforts to provide China with “adequate technologies” to accelerate that shift.

“India doesn’t like the coalition, but India has accepted several bilateral forms of support, and I’ve been in close contact with the US, UK and several other countries to make sure that there’s a strong project to support India,” he said.

Guterres said the past two years had shown that the world needs to cooperate to halt climate change, achieve global economic recovery and beat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual Davos gathering usually takes place in person in eastern Switzerland, drawing hundreds of business leaders, cultural elites, academics and government leaders.

The leaders of Germany, Colombia and Japan are set to address the gathering that runs until Friday.

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