The coronavirus pandemic was supposed to be the black swan for Xi Jinping’s China. At least so many thought at the beginning, when the epidemic seemed illusory to be limited to the territory of the People’s Republic. Then, as we know, not only was this not the case but the black swan started swimming in the White House pond, from where Donald Trump had to leave mainly due to the unsuccessful pandemic management.
China, 450 million vaccines in over 100 countries
Meanwhile, Beijing has taken advantage of this to relaunch its exports by reshaping the Silk Road in a sanitary key. First with masks and respirators, then with vaccines. While the West, grappling with the emergency and the lack of serums, blocked exports, China was catching up over 100 countries around the world with 450 million doses. Frightening figures, which not only contribute to Beijing’s coffers but also to the image and geopolitical weight of the Chinese government, which uses the vaccine to present itself as a responsible and unique power capable of helping developing countries.
G20, Germany attacks Chinese vaccine diplomacy
A strategy targeted during the G20 in Matera, in which Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did not take part, to avoid a meeting with the US counterpart Antony Blinken, Instead, he has been in Italy for days and has just returned from fruitful meetings in the Vatican and at the Farnesina. The attack on Beijing was launched by the foreign minister of Germany, Heiko Maas. The G20, Maas said, represents an opportunity for cooperation against global crises and the participation of Moscow and Beijing is of great importance. But according to the minister, neither Moscow nor Beijing are in the same direction. For Maas, the so-called Sinorussian “vaccine diplomacy” has a very specific objective: “To obtain geostrategic advantages in the short term”, rather than aiming at safeguarding global health.
The replica of Wang Yi it was not long in coming. The Chinese diplomat recalled how Beijing “has supplied more than 450 million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 to 100 countries”, underlining the difference in attitude compared to that of Western countries, which have introduced restrictions on the export of vaccines. Measures that according to the Chinese vision would lead to an immunization gap capable of frustrating the efforts of vaccination campaigns around the world.