Xi pledges $3b aid package

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China will offer international aid totaling $3 billion over the next three years to boost developing countries’ COVID-19 response, their economic recovery and social development, President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

Xi pledges $3b aid package

Xi also unveiled Beijing’s initiative to establish a forum for international vaccine cooperation to enable vaccine producers, countries and other stakeholders to discuss how to fairly distribute vaccines globally.

He made these pledges as he delivered a video speech at the Global Health Summit on Friday that gathered leaders of major economies and leading international organizations.

The summit was held as the need for COVID-19 vaccines is surging across the globe while concerns are growing over the widening disparities regarding vaccine distribution and medical supplies.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned at the summit that so far “more than 82 percent of the world’s vaccine doses have gone to affluent countries” and “just 0.3 percent have gone to low-income countries”.

“The pandemic is still very much with us, thriving and mutating… As winter approaches in the Global South, I fear the worst is yet to come,” Guterres said.

China has provided vaccines in assistance to over 80 developing countries in urgent need and has exported vaccines to 43 countries, offering a total of 300 million doses to the world.

At the summit, Xi also announced that China “will provide still more vaccines to the best of its ability”.

Having announced support for waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, China also supports the World Trade Organization and other international institutions in making an early decision on this matter, Xi said.

So far, China has provided $2 billion in assistance for COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery in developing countries hit by the pandemic.

The nation has sent medical supplies to more than 150 countries and 13 international organizations, providing more than 280 billion masks, 3.4 billion protective suits and 4 billion testing kits to the world.

“To clinch an early victory against COVID-19 and restore economic growth remains the top priority for the international community. G20 members need to shoulder responsibilities in global cooperation against the virus,” Xi said.

At the summit, Xi made a five-point proposal for coping with major public health emergencies.

He urged countries to put people and their lives first; follow scientific policies and ensure a systemic response; promote solidarity and cooperation; uphold fairness and equality regarding immunization; and improve the global health governance system.

“We must champion the vision of building a global community of health for all, tide over this trying time through solidarity and cooperation, and firmly reject any attempt to politicize, label or stigmatize the virus,” he said.

In particular, Xi criticized vaccine nationalism and urged countries to make vaccines more accessible and affordable to developing countries.

Countries which are major developers and producers of vaccines “need to take up their responsibility to provide more vaccines to developing countries in urgent need”, and they also need to support their businesses in joint research and authorized production with other countries having the relevant capacity, he said.

Multilateral financial institutions should provide inclusive financing support for the vaccine procurement of developing countries, Xi added.

Italy, as the chair of the G20 this year, and the European Commission co-hosted Friday’s summit in Rome, said Vice-Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu.

Xi’s speech “is significant for advancing multilateralism, promoting global teamwork against the virus and leading the evolution of the global health governance system”, Ma said.

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The proposals and measures stated by Xi at the summit are tangible, they epitomize China’s dedication to work with countries to overcome the imminent challenges and the pandemic, and will effectively advance global vaccine cooperation and narrow the disparity regarding COVID-19 immunization, Ma added.

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Source : Global Times | Photocredit : Google

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