Chinese President Xi Jinping called for global acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines his nation has developed — and complained about efforts to trace the origins of the virus — in remarks at the Group of 20 meeting in Rome.
“Stigmatization of the virus and politicization of origins tracing run counter to the spirit of solidarity against the pandemic,” Xi told the assembled world leaders via video link Saturday, state-run CGTV reported.
He lobbied the leaders to broaden their rules on vaccinations so that all jabs approved for the World Health Organization’s emergency use list — including those developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm — can be used more widely.
“China is willing to work with all parties to improve the accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries,” he said.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who also skipped an in-person appearance at the meeting, pushed a similar message — and lashed out at the G20 members for their continued refusal to allow broad use of four Russian-made jabs.
Putin blamed “dishonest competition” and “protectionism” for the lack of international recognition, Russia’s Sputnik news service reported.
Recipients of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccines face restrictions on international travel, including visits to the US.