Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccines based on the World Health Organization’s list of emergencies, according to a transcript of his remarks provided to the leaders of the group of 20 leaders’ summit, published by the official Xinhua news agency.
Xi spoke to participants in Rome via video link, saying China had delivered more than 1.6 billion Covid shots to the world and worked with 16 nations to collaborate on manufacturing doses.
“China is willing to work with all parties to improve the availability and affordability of Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries,” he said.
Two Chinese vaccines, one from Sinovac Biotech and one from Sinopharm, are on the WHO’s list of emergency uses.
At the first personal summit since the coronavirus pandemic began last year, the climate crisis, the economic recovery after Covid-19 and the global minimum corporate tax rate are on the agenda.
On Saturday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi opened the meeting with a call for action on multilateralism. “The more we go with all our challenges, the more it is clear that multilateralism is the best answer to the problems we face today. In many ways, it is the only possible answer,” he said.
In his speech, Xi reiterated China’s support for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to take an early decision to renounce intellectual property rights to Covid-19 vaccines, and called on vaccine companies to be encouraged to transfer technology to developing countries.
Xi also called for policies to maintain global economic and financial stability, saying China would strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and maintain political continuity, stability and sustainability.
“Larger economies should adopt responsible macroeconomic policies to avoid adverse spill-over effects to developing countries and maintain the stable operation of the international economic and financial system,” he said.
Xi’s speech at the G20 came the day before the start of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. Xi is not expected to attend, but he spoke on the subject to Boris Johnson on Friday in a phone call.
On Saturday, Xi reiterated that China will work to reach a carbon emissions peak by 2030 with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.
This year’s G20 summit is being held amid rising tensions between China and the United States and other Western democracies. Since Joe Biden became president, Washington and Beijing have exchanged sharp reprimands on issues including China’s human rights, the Taiwan Strait and nuclear weapons.
Prior to the Rome summit, opponents of Beijing – including exiles from the Chinese regions of Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet – gathered in Rome to demand “tougher action against China”.
Speaking ahead of the G20 summit, Xi’s representative at this year’s summit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, also warned Washington and its allies not to “interfere” in Taiwan’s affairs, an island that China considers its own breakaway province.
“Recently, the United States and other countries tried to achieve breakthroughs on the issue of Taiwan, which is contrary to the political guarantees they provided when they established diplomatic relations with China,” Wang said.
“If they could not stop the One China principle 50 years ago, it is even more impossible in today’s world in the 21st century … If they go ahead regardless, they will definitely pay a price accordingly.”