China Vows to Share COVID-19 Vaccine, But U.S. Senator Claims Beijing is Trying to 'Sabotage' American Treatment Efforts

As Chinese officials pledged to share any future COVID-19 vaccines globally, Republican senator Rick Scott has today claimed that Beijing is trying to hinder U.S. treatment efforts, warning: "They have decided to be an adversary."

Chinese government ministers said this weekend they are willing to boost international cooperation in the search for a potential novel coronavirus vaccine, which is believed to be the most effective way to rid the world of the infectious respiratory illness.

In a media conference today, the director of China's Ministry of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang, doubled down on the stance that any vaccine China's finds will become a "global public good," but said worldwide cooperation will be needed.

"The rigor of vaccine development has been compared by some scientists to a dance involving precise steps and rehearsals," Wang said, Reuters reported.

But Republican senator Rick Scott said today during an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the U.S. has evidence that China is attempting to disrupt the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine by rival countries, including the U.S. and the U.K.
"We have got to get this vaccine done. Unfortunately we have evidence that communist China is trying to sabotage us or slow it down," the senator said.

"This vaccine is really important to all of us getting our economy going again. What I really believe is whether England does it first or we do it first, we are going to share. Communist China, they are not going to share," Scott added, without elaborating on the evidence, which he claimed was obtained by the intelligence community.

Chinese state media today criticized America's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the U.S. death toll spirals to more than 110,000.

Reporting on a new white paper released by Beijing that praised China's response to the infectious disease, The Global Times—a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party—said the report offered a "rebuttal" foreign media and U.S. politicians, including Donald Trump, who spread "reckless accusations" about a coronavirus cover-up.

The Chinese state media outlet reported that five COVID-19 vaccines are now believed to have started clinical trials in the country. U.S. trials are also taking place.

According to Johns Hopkins University, China has recorded at least 84,186 cases of the disease, and 4,638 deaths. In April, The Guardian reported that one study by Hong Kong researchers suggested infection rates could be four times the official figures.

COVID-19 statistics China shared with the world have been met with skepticism by some governments, and conspiracy theories mounted the outbreak was somehow linked to a laboratory in Wuhan, the city where the virus is believed to have surfaced.

China, which has denied accusations of a cover-up, was found to have muzzled at least one medical expert who attempted to warn colleagues about a suspected outbreak. Dr Li Wenliang, one early whistleblower, later died after contracting COVID-19.

After spreading globally, now at close to 7 million cases, the U.S. has now become the worst-affected nation in the world, with at least 1.9 million infections and over 119,000 deaths. More than 750,000 people are believed to have recovered in the U.S.

At a global scale, the death tool has now topped 400,000.

China claims to have the novel coronavirus under control, with its new white paper laying out some of the main steps it took to combat the spread of the disease.

The Global Times cited health commission chief Ma Xiaowei as saying during a briefing about the white paper that China did not conceal any information about the coronavirus and Chinese officials alerted U.S. agencies to the outbreak on January 4.

The state outlet accused the U.S. of launching a "full-scale campaign to blame China" for a cover-up and delayed response, as its own infection numbers spiked.

Reuters reported today that the white paper itself did not criticize any specific counties by name, and urged other governments to avoid "politicizing" the deadly virus.

President Donald Trump has said the U.S. is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), claiming China has "total control" over the agency.

"The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government. China's cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 American lives and over a million lives worldwide," Trump said at a media briefing late last month.

The U.S. intelligence community said in April that it "concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man made or genetically modified."

It remains unknown how long a viable COVID-19 vaccine will take to develop.

COVID-19 research
A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation on February 28, 2020 in Nutley, New Jersey Kena Betancur/Getty