Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday offered to cooperate with India and other BRICS nations in the development of vaccines against the coronavirus and reiterated that differences between member states should be resolved through dialogue while advocating common security for the five-member bloc.
"As we speak the Chinese companies are working with their Russian and Brazilian partners on phase three clinical trials for vaccines. We are prepared to have cooperation with South Africa and India as well," Xi said while addressing the 12th BRICS summit via video link.
The virtual summit, hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
"China has joined the COVAX facility and will actively consider providing vaccines to the BRICS countries where there is a need," Xi said.
The World Health Organisation has said nine candidate vaccines, including two from China, are currently being evaluated for inclusion in the COVAX Facility. The COVAX is co-led by Gavi, an international vaccine alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of vaccines.
So far the coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected more than 54 million people around the world and killed over 1.3 million others.
"To support the development of the BRICS Vaccine R&D Centre, China has designated its own national centre. We will work with other BRICS countries both online and offline to advance collective vaccine research and trials, set up plants, authorise production and recognise each other's standards,” he said.
"I propose that we convene a BRICS symposium on traditional medicine to explore its role in coronavirus prevention and treatment. This may well boost the global arsenal against COVID-19," he said.
He also reiterated that the BRICS countries should address their differences through dialogue.
"The BRICS countries need to champion the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We need to work through consultation and negotiation to address differences,” he said, in remarks in the backdrop of the over six-month-long military standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh.
Xi also said the BRICS grouping should oppose "interference in others' internal affairs, as well as unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction.”
"We need to oppose interference in others' internal affairs, as well as unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. With concerted efforts, we will foster a peaceful and stable environment for development,” Xi said amidst the US ramping up pressure on Beijing on a number of issues, including on the Chinese military's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.
He said China will open the BRICS partnership on a new industrial revolution innovation centre in the Chinese city of Xiamen.
"China will work with other parties to flesh out the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution at a faster pace. We will open in Xiamen, Fujian Province a BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution innovation centre to advance cooperation on policy coordination, personnel training and project development, and we welcome the active participation of fellow BRICS countries,” he said.
He also spoke about the Global Initiative on Data Security launched by China recently.
"It aims to jointly foster a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace to enable sound growth of the digital economy. We look forward to support from our fellow BRICS countries,” he said.
Xi said the BRICS countries need to "overcome divisions with unity and pool the maximum global synergy to beat the virus."
He focussed on the need for the BRICS countries to support multilateralism, globalisation which faced headwinds from growing nationalism in the US and other developed countries and advanced five proposals for the bloc.
Xi said BRICS countries should uphold multilateralism and safeguard world peace and stability, deepen solidarity and cooperation in jointly coping with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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. We BRICS countries must hold high the banner of multilateralism. We must endeavour to safeguard the UN centred internationals system and international order underpinned by international law,” he said.
"It is impossible to reverse the trends of world multi-polarity and economic globalisation," he said.
"The practice of using the pandemic to pursue de-globalisation will end up hurting one's own interests," he said.
On climate change, he said China is prepared to take on international responsibilities befitting its level of development, and will continue to make extraordinary efforts.
"Recently, I announced at the UN China's initiative to scale up its nationally determined contributions and adopt more forceful policies and measures to strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. You can count on China to keep its promise,” he said.
"All of us are indeed passengers in the same boat. When the wind is strong and the tides are high, we must be even more focused on our direction. We must keep pace and work as a team to break the waves and navigate steadily toward a brighter future," Xi concluded.