BEIJING, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) — As the world grapples with the worst pandemic in a century and a flagging global economy, Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken the world stage to offer China’s approach to overcoming these challenges.
Attending an array of international events in the past week that virtually gathered leaders of the world’s major economies, Xi has demonstrated China’s firm commitment to helping the world defeat COVID-19, building an open world economy, and advocating multilateralism.
His pledges and proposals, ranging from vowing to actively consider providing vaccines to others and further cutting tariffs to honoring China’s carbon neutrality commitment, won broad recognition at the meetings of BRICS, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Group of 20 (G20).
As COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, sickening 58 million people, all eyes are on the race for an effective vaccine.
China has five vaccines under phase-three clinical trials in multiple countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The country has also joined COVAX, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization, to ensure effective and equitable global access to vaccines.
Xi reiterated China’s promise to make its COVID-19 vaccines a “global public good.”
“China stands ready to step up cooperation with other countries on research and development, production and distribution of vaccines for COVID-19,” Xi said at the G20 Riyadh Summit.
“We will honor our commitment of giving assistance and support to other developing countries, and work to make vaccines a global public good accessible and affordable to people around the world,” he said.
Pierre Defraigne, executive director of the Madariaga-College of Europe Foundation, said Xi’s speech is part of “a responsible choice of a great nation, which has shown a lot of credit for its actions in the world.”
Speaking at the BRICS summit, 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.
OPEN WORLD ECONOMY
Addressing the events, Xi has championed building an open world economy and facilitating free trade.
Speaking at the 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Xi called for continued efforts to press ahead with regional economic integration for the early realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, adding that China will favorably consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“This important announcement once again demonstrated China’s firm determination to further open up and was widely welcomed by the international community,” Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
This followed the signing of the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), by 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Xi also reassured the world that China’s new development paradigm is by no means aimed to close its doors but to build a new system of open economy of higher standards.
Noting that the pandemic has fueled the boom of new technologies, new business models and latest tech innovations such as 5G, artificial intelligence and smart cities, Xi urged tapping into the booming digital economy to battle the pandemic and reboot the flagging world economy.
He proposed measures including enhancing data security cooperation, strengthening the digital infrastructure, and leveling the playing field for high-tech companies from all countries.
Xi has consistently championed multilateralism.
He used these diplomatic occasions to take swipes at the rising protectionism, unilateralism and attempts at “de-globalization” or “economic decoupling.”
“History teaches us that multilateralism, equity and justice can keep war and conflict at bay, while unilateralism and power politics will inflate dispute and confrontation,” Xi said.
“Flouting rules and laws, treading the path of unilateralism and bullying, and withdrawing from international organizations and agreements run counter to the will of the general public and trample on the legitimate rights and dignity of all nations,” he said.
Bobby M. Tuazon, director of Policy Studies at the Center for People Empowerment in Governance of the Philippines, said multilateralism and international cooperation proposed by China is the way forward especially in the light of critical global challenges.
Xi urged the G20 members and BRICS countries to safeguard the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, calling the United Nations “the core institution for addressing international affairs through cooperation.”
“We remain convinced that the theme of our times — peace and development — has not changed, and that the trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization cannot be turned around,” Xi said.