The head of the Chinese regime, Xi Jinpingis not willing to accept the western vaccines despite the challenges that China face with him COVID-19, and although the recent protests could affect his personal position, the US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
Although China‘s daily COVID cases are near all-time highs, some cities are taking steps to ease testing and quarantine rules after the coronavirus policy COVID Zero of Xi triggered a sharp economic slowdown and public unrest.
Speaking at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California, Haines said that Despite the social and economic impact of the virus, Xi “is not willing to take a better vaccine from the West, and is instead relying on a vaccine from China that is nowhere near as effective against omicron.”
“Seeing the protests and the response to them is countering the narrative he likes to present, which is that China is much more effective in government,” Haines said.
“It is not, again, something that we see as a threat to stability right now, or a regime change or something,” he said, adding: “How it develops will matter for Xi’s position.”.
China has not approved any foreign vaccine against COVID, opting for domestically produced ones, which according to some studies are not as effective as some foreign ones. This means that relaxing virus prevention measures could carry great risks, according to experts.
The White House said earlier in the week that China had not requested vaccines from the United States.
A US official told Reuters that there was “no expectation at present” that China would approve Western vaccines.
“seems pretty unlikely that China will give the green light to Western vaccines right now. It is a matter of national prideand they would have to swallow quite a bit if they went down this path,” the official said.
Haines also said North Korea recognized that China was less likely to hold it responsible for what she said were Pyongyang’s “extraordinary” number of weapons tests this year.
In the midst of a record year of missile tests, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said last week that his country aims to have the world’s most powerful nuclear force.
In a later panel, Admiral John Aquilino, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, said China had no motivation to stop any country, including North Korea, that was causing trouble for the United States.
“I would say that it is in their strategy to push those issues,” Aquilino said, referring to China.
He added that China had considerable leverage to pressure North Korea over its weapons tests, but was not optimistic that Beijing would “do something useful to stabilize the region.”
(With information from Reuters/By Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom)
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