Despite the pandemic Nepal-China cooperation projects have shown steady progress
With joint efforts of the Chinese government and the government of Nepal, 800,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, donated by the Chinese government under grant assistance, arrived in Kathmandu on March 29. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, China and Nepal have been helping and supporting each other in prevention and control of the pandemic through various channels. This is a new chapter of friendship in fighting the pandemic and overcoming difficulties. Given that COVID-19 vaccines are in high demand around the world and in China, the Chinese side has actively coordinated and provided vaccine assistance to Nepal as a priority, which not only demonstrates the great importance the Chinese side attaches to China-Nepal friendship and profound friendly feelings toward the Nepali people, but this also is another vivid illustration and active practice of China-Nepal community with a shared future.
President Xi Jinping announced that COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability to the developing countries. China has actively fulfilled President Xi’s promise and acted as a committed front-runner in promoting international vaccine cooperation and a steadfast advocate for equitable vaccine distribution. China has so far donated or is donating COVID-19 vaccines to 69 developing countries, including Nepal, and is exporting the vaccine to 43 countries. China has also joined COVAX, under which China will provide initial 10 million doses for emergency use in developing countries. We believe that this will bring more confidence and hope in fighting against the pandemic.
The Chinese side has always placed top priority to the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines. At present, 17 COVID-19 vaccines in China have entered the clinical trials phase, and four of them, including Sinopharms vaccine and Sinovax vaccine, have been granted conditional marketing authorization in China. As of this February, more than 34 million doses of vaccines produced by Sinopharms have been used within China, with the efficacy against COVID-19 over 80%, the positive conversion rate of neutralizing antibody as 99.52%, the efficacy of preventing severe cases as 100%, while the incidence of adverse reactions after vaccination is less than one in a million, even lower than the normal influenza vaccines. Up to now, more than 60 countries, including Nepal, have approved the emergency use of Chinese vaccines and more than ten foreign heads of states or governments have been vaccinated with Chinese vaccines in public. More than 100 million doses of Chinese vaccines have been jabbed domestically and abroad. The safety and efficacy of Chinese vaccines have been widely recognized by the countries all over the world.
We need to emphasize that vaccines are a powerful weapon against the virus. The Chinese side never seeks geopolitical goals or economic benefits in its international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines, nor will we attach any political conditions to the cooperation. We are committed to helping people all over the world have access to affordable vaccines. We are not using the vaccine as a geopolitical tool.
Since last year, the pandemic has made a massive impact on the world, which inevitably affected personnel exchanges and economic and trade cooperation among countries. To our gratification, China-Nepal cooperation under the Belt and Road framework did not come to a halt. With joint efforts from both sides, there are continuous new developments and outcomes in bilateral cooperation. In 2020, China’s investment in Nepal surpassed $100 million, which once again makes China the largest investor in Nepal. A series of bilateral cooperation projects between China and Nepal progressing in an orderly manner: China Aid Durbar High School project was completed and handed over to the Nepali side; the third phase of China Aid Arniko Highway Long-term Opening Maintenance Project has started; the construction of Pokhara Regional International Airport has made positive achievements; the demolition work of the second phase of Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project has made tangible progress. In recent days, the Melamchi Water Supply Project undertaken by Power Construction Corporation of China has started testing its tunnel by releasing water. The feasibility study of the Cross-Border Railway is being promoted in a steady way. We believe that with the arrival of Chinese vaccines, personnel exchanges between the two countries will be further facilitated and cooperation projects will be expedited, which will go a long way towards achieving the goal of Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.
As President Xi Jinping said, "The winter cannot stop the arrival of spring and darkness can never shroud the light of dawn." Vaccines will bring us the light of dawn to overcome the pandemic. As long as we are committed to cooperation and uphold multilateralism, we will definitely be able to win a final victory against the pandemic. China will continue to unite and cooperate with countries, including Nepal, to build a global community of health for all and promote cooperation in various fields, including the fight against the pandemic in order to benefit people all over the world and welcome a better future!