As he opened the virtual meeting hosted by the World Economic Forum, the Chinese leader highlighted his country's efforts in promoting development, fighting climate change and sharing vaccines. Because of the health concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, this online event will replace its annual January meeting in Davos.
Another theme was the global epidemic that claimed more than 5.5 million lives and disrupted the global economy. Moderna's CEO stated that the vaccine manufacturer was developing a single shot booster for COVID-19 and flu. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a U.S. infectious disease expert, lamented the "very disturbing" reluctance by many Americans to adhere to basic precautions like wearing masks and getting vaccinated.
Fauci stated that "this is such a formidable disease," pointing out the difficulty in attaining herd immunity against COVID-19 due to the tendency for immunity to fade even after vaccination. You give the virus an advantage if you don't implement all of the well-recognized public healthcare measures, especially the vaccines, in a coordinated way.
Xi, who has not left China since the coronavirus appeared in early 2020, stated in his speech that China had exported more than 2 billion doses COVID-19 vaccines, to more than 120 countries and international organizations. He stated that he would provide another 1 billion, including 600 million doses for Africa and 150 million for Southeast Asia.
Managers of the U.N.-backed COVAX program that ships vaccines to developing nations announced this weekend that they have delivered 1 billion doses of vaccine.
Xi covered the same themes as previous talks to international audiences. He also addressed complaints from trading partners and promised to open China's economy to foreign competition.
As tensions simmer between the United States of America and China over topics such as Taiwan, intellectual property and trade, and the South China Sea, his comments are timely.
"We must abandon the Cold War mentality, and strive for peaceful coexistence and win/win outcomes. Through a translator, Xi said that the world of today is far from tranquil. "Protectionism or unilateralism cannot protect anyone. They end up hurting the interests of others as much as their own. The practices of bullying and hegemony, which are contrary to the flow of history, are even worse.
He said, "A zero-sum approach to enlarging one's gain at the expense others will not work." Peaceful development and win-win cooperation are the best ways to move humanity forward.
Xi stated that China was ready to cooperate with other governments regarding climate change, but he did not announce any new initiatives or offer resources. He stated that it was up to the developed countries to provide technology and money.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel stated that Xi had spoken and that he hoped that the U.S-based company would have a combination vaccine booster available for testing in advanced research in the second trimester. He said that a best case scenario would be if the single shot to cover both flu and COVID-19 could be made ready for use next year.
Bancel stated that although it is unlikely it will happen in all countries, it was possible in certain countries next year.
Moderna has been heavily criticised for prioritizing distribution to rich countries of COVID-19 vaccines. Only a small fraction of its supply has gone via COVAX to poor countries. He stated that the company was targeting to produce between 2 and 3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year. The company hopes to receive data from a new vaccine in March to address the omicron variant.
Access to broadband internet was a topic that was brought up in a panel discussion on technology cooperation. It was described as an issue of inequality and a gap that must be closed. Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, said that transparency in protecting people's privacy will be key. This includes collaboration between governments and corporations.
Davos' annual gathering attracts hundreds of business leaders, academics, and government officials to the eastern Swiss Alpine snows. The gathering runs through Friday and will be addressed by leaders from countries such as Japan, Colombia, Germany and Colombia.
Later Monday, Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi and U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gave speeches.