A ceremony has taken place in Beijing Thursday to launch phase three clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine in Peru. Peru’s national health authorities have approved the trials, the latest in China’s efforts to strengthen international cooperation in pandemic control. China’s Biotec Group is carrying out the research with experts from some of Peru’s leading universities. For more, CGTN’s Liu Yang speaks to the chairman of China’s National Pharmaceutical Group.
LIU YANG Beijing “In June, Sinopharm’s CNBG launched international phase three clinical trials in the UAE. Why Peru this time, and what’s so significant about this partnership?”
LIU JINGZHEN Chairman, China National Pharmaceutical Group “Epidemic prevention and control in China has made strategic achievements. Under these circumstances, it’s impossible to do phase three clinical trials in China. We launched the promotion of international clinical trials in April. Take me for example. I had more than two hundred meetings with health ministers, science and technology ministers, interior ministers, foreign ministers, and ambassadors to China from more than forty countries. Brazil, Argentina and Peru are among the top few in the world in terms of coronavirus outbreaks. So we’re making key breakthroughs in South America, and we’re currently negotiating with Brazil to enhance cooperation. In Peru, we’re working with the University of Cayetano Heredia and the National University of San Marcos, specifically to cooperate comprehensively on the clinical phase three trials. They’re two of the top universities in Peru, and their experts have been very professional across the board.”
LIU YANG Beijing “What’s the current progress on the trials in the UAE?”
LIU JINGZHEN Chairman, China National Pharmaceutical Group “With the strong support of UAE government departments and our partner G 42 Group, we’re fully promoting cooperation. The effects have been very good. We’re the world’s most successful and fastest project in terms of entering phase three clinical trials. The second round of injections has now begun in the UAE.”
LIU YANG Beijing “Are there any plans in the pipeline to cooperate with other countries on the third phase of clinical trials for a vaccine?”
LIU JINGZHEN Chairman, China National Pharmaceutical Group “We’ve spoken to more than forty countries and regions including Brazil, the Philippines and many other countries, but the progress has been relatively slow. However, we are now in phase three in terms of the experiments so far, and the layout of phase three is completely sufficient. Our next step is to focus on vaccine procurement and cooperative supply.”
LIU YANG Beijing “After the clinical phase three trials, what needs to be done before the vaccine can enter the market, both in China and the rest of the world?”
LIU JINGZHEN Chairman, China National Pharmaceutical Group “The phase three clinical trials haven’t been completed, and the vaccine has not officially been approved and marketed as of now. But as a commodity, in the case of an emergency, foreign governments can purchase vaccines from us. There’s no obstacle to such purchases. We’ll supply the vaccine to whoever buys it. This is in compliance with the law.”
LIU YANG Beijing “If the vaccine is expected to be on the market at the end of December, when do you plan to start mass production?”
LIU JINGZHEN Chairman, China National Pharmaceutical Group “Vaccines are to be used for prevention by healthy people. It must be accessible to the general public. According to President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Health Assembly, China’s vaccines will be used as global public goods after research and development is successful. We have two research and production facilities in Beijing and Wuhan, which can ensure the supply of 200-million vaccines a year. According to our clinical experiments, taking two injections can achieve the best effect. The best interval between the two injections is 28-days. This can ensure overall effectiveness, approved by experimental data.”
Xi-Biden Call Analysis: Cooperation Should be Based Upon Mutual Respect
In the first phone conversation between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies in seven months, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday morning had a “candid, in-depth and extensive strategic communication and exchanges” with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“On the basis of respecting each other’s core concerns and properly managing differences, the relevant departments of the two countries may continue their engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation on climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery as well as on major international and regional issues,” Xi told Biden.
White House officials said Biden initiated the 90-minute phone call, which is only the second of this kind since the U.S. president took office.
There had been high expectations for Biden to improve bilateral relations ever since he replaced former President Donald Trump in January.
Biden’s China journey four decades on
Biden came to China in 1979 as a member of the first delegation the U.S. Congress sent to China. The then senator said in a speech that China’s development was good for the United States.
He visited China again in 2011, and wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “a successful China can make our country [U.S.] more prosperous, not less.”
“On issues from global security to global economic growth, we share common challenges and responsibilities – and we have incentives to work together,” read the article titled “China’s Rise Isn’t Our Demise.”
In his first phone call with Xi on the eve of the Chinese New Year in February this year, Biden sent his greetings to the Chinese people. He said he was prepared to have candid and constructive dialogue with China in the spirit of mutual respect and to improve mutual understanding and avoid miscommunication and miscalculation.
Yet such goodwill failed to match up with the actions, according to Yuyuantantian, a public WeChat account that focuses on current affairs. And hostility has been particularly evident in the U.S. Congress.
In recent months, there have been more China-related bills in the U.S. Congress than ever before, with more than a dozen in July alone, most of which recommended the adoption of opposing or restrictive policies against China.
The U.S. has made a major strategic miscalculation on China, said Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, as quoted in the Yuyuantantian article. “It mistakenly takes China as a major strategic competitor and believes whatever China does is aimed at undermining the U.S. leadership and dominating the international order.”
Xi has said China and the United States will have different views on some issues, but the key is to respect each other and treat each other as equals. But the U.S. has yet to learn to do that, according to Yuyuantantian.
‘Whether China, U.S. can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world’
China and the United States are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country, whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world, and it is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer, Xi said in the Friday phone conversation.
The two countries should bring relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of the people in both countries and around the world, he added.
How to get China-U.S. relations back on track has become a “must-solve problem,” Yuyuantantian commented, adding that the ball is now in the U.S. court.
Washington is gradually losing its reputation all around the world, the public account said. “If it really wants cooperation, it has to ‘get off its high horse,’ face the reality and start an open dialogue with China,” it added.
Through the lens: How 20 Years of Conflict Since 9/11 Changed Afghanistan
The Afghanistan war ended just as abruptly as it had begun. Two decades ago, the September 11 terrorist attacks led the U.S. to formulate its controversial counter-terrorism policy, including its longest war in history – the war in Afghanistan.
Twenty years later, the mountainous country nestled in the heartland of Asia has once again come to a crossroads as the U.S. withdrew its troops, with the Taliban reclaiming the power they lost two decades ago.
Afghanistan has long been a battlefield for global powers, but it has never been conquered, hence its moniker – the “Graveyard of Empires.”
In the series “Through the lens: Afghanistan 2001-2021,” we dive into the scars the war has left on the country, and the fear, wrath and resilience of the Afghan people, in eight episodes.
The September 11 attacks claimed some 3,000 lives, making it the deadliest attack in U.S. history.
The U.S. military invaded the country, already war-plagued and impoverished, in the name of the “war on terror.”
In decades of war and destitution, opium poppy plantation and production have become a major source of income for local farmers. “Either Afghanistan destroys opium, or opium will destroy Afghanistan,” former Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said.
In the protracted war in Afghanistan, no one suffered more than Afghan civilians. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from homes with no shelter and rarely any food.
Wars after wars have made migration a norm for the Afghan people. As of 2021, Afghanistan is the third largest source of refugees in the world, with the number of Afghan refugees standing at 2.6 million. Domestically, 4 million internally displaced persons are still in temporary camps.
In the capital, Kabul, there are only two kinds of people – the rich and the poor.
On April 14, Biden announced the U.S. troop withdrawal would be completed by September 11, marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the invasion. In the months that followed, the country witnessed massive chaos.
How the new Afghan government deals with the wide range of social, political and economic issues will determine how an Afghanistan under the Taliban will be received by the Afghan people and the world.
Editors: Zeng Ziyi, Zhao Yue, Wang Xiaonan, Yu Jing, Zhong Xia, Du Junzhi
Images designed by Liu Shaozhen
Graphics by Yang Yiren
Producer: Wang Xiaonan
Xi Jinping Urges ‘True Multilateralism’ in World’s ‘Daunting’ Economic Recovery from COVID-19
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said the world economy is undergoing a “daunting recovery” which requires “true multilateralism” in the face of fresh COVID-19 flare-ups.
“We are ready to work with all parties to uphold true multilateralism, advocate trust and harmony, promote win-win cooperation, and march with firm steps toward the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind,” Xi said at the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link from Beijing.
The forum – held in Russia every year since 2015 – has the goal of promoting multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year’s session was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the speech, Xi called for the international community to unite. “We need to intensify cooperation in vaccine research, development and production, provide more public goods to the international community,” he said.
The Chinese president also voiced opposition to any sort of politicization of COVID-19 vaccines and origins-tracing.
Extra efforts for mutually-beneficial cooperation
“We need to redouble our efforts to advance mutually-beneficial cooperation,” Xi said at the opening ceremony.
He called for the deepening of collaboration between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union in areas including digital economy and climate change.
The Chinese president also urged the group to embrace a “common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security” by “narrowing differences” and “building consensus through dialogue and exchanges.”
As Friday marks the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, Xi also called for the defense of the victory’s outcomes.
“The international community must defend firmly the victorious outcomes of World War II, safeguard the truth of history, and stay committed to taking history as a mirror to open up a brighter future,” Xi said.
(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link, September 3, 2021. /Xinhua)
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