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So. Korea Plans: Producing Up to 1 Billion Vaccines in 2022

South Korea Plans for Producing Up to 1 Billion Vaccines in 2022

July 28 (EIRNS)—While it remains to be seen how the U.S. will follow through on their commitment to assist India in ramping up COVID-19 vaccine production, the U.S.-Korea plans are moving forward. In India’s case, the U.S. has a bumpy history of blocking critical raw materials for India’s world-leading vaccine production operations, and then turning down repeated requests for vaccines when India was in the greatest need. And today, Antony Blinken offered a paltry, even insulting, $25 million for India’s vaccination program. No vaccines included.

On May 23, when South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in came to the White House, agreement was made on a Global Vaccine Partnership (GVP), first with a “KORUS GVP Experts Group” of scientists, public officials and various experts. Seoul had actually wanted immediate vaccines from the U.S. in exchange for future vaccines to be provided from Seoul to the U.S.—but that was refused. Instead, four deals were initiated, beginning with Samsung Biologics arrangement to produce “hundreds of millions” of Moderna vaccines, as soon as technology transfer and trial production were completed. South Korea would be putting up the money for purchasing the vaccines produced. Moderna also signed an MOU with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and also the Ministry of Health and Welfare, for Moderna to invest in production facilities in Korea using a Korean workforce, with Korean government support for Moderna. Another MOU was signed by both the Health Ministry and SK Bioscience with the U.S.’s Novavax for vaccine development and production.

The update this month, from “a senior South Korean government official” is that Seoul is in talks with Pfizer and Moderna on expanding production up to 1 billion doses in 2022. (This is on top of deals with AstraZeneca and Novavax.) Health Ministry official Lee Kang-ho commented: “We have had frequent discussions with large pharmaceutical companies to produce mRNA vaccines. South Korea is keen to help by offering its facilities and skilled human resources.” The speculation is that Hanmi Pharmaceuticals and Quratis might be ready to start up production immediately. Hanmi said it has a large capacity reserved to produce Sanofi’s diabetes drug, but that is at a temporary standstill, and the capacity can meanwhile be used to produce COVID vaccines. And Quratis has a one-year-old factory which makes a tuberculosis vaccine, and they say they have capacity for mRNA vaccines. It appears that the technology, workforce and capital is all present, waiting to move forward.


RIAC Analyst Believes Geo-Economics Is Overtaking Geopolitics in Central Asia

July 24 (EIRNS) — Moscow-based American foreign affairs expert Andrew Korybko writes on his blog on the website of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), that the ongoing settlement of the Afghanistan war is putting “geo-economics” ahead of the zero-sum game of geopolitics. He writes that “geo-economics” is at the center of the cooperation among the U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan in seeking an Afghan settlement and the creation of the so-called “Quad” of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States which was created on July 16 at the connectivity conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This latter, Korybko writes, “complements the prior such platform between the former two states, China and Tajikistan back in 2016 as well as the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway project that was agreed upon in February.”

Crucial to the development according to Korybko is Pakistan’s new “Geo-Economic Grand Strategy Is Multi-Alignment,” which was adopted during March’s inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue, where it was announced that geo-economics will now constitute the basis for all policy formulation and not geopolitics. The first fruits of the policy was the creation of the so-called Quad platform among Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the U.S.

Korybko writes: “Pakistan is actively fulfilling its geostrategic destiny as the ‘Zipper of Eurasia’” by connecting a variety of stakeholders through their shared economic interests. “Islamabad is leveraging its influence in Afghanistan to advance the neighboring country’s peace process, which saw it facilitate Beijing and Moscow’s incipient ties with the Taliban. Upon these multipolar great powers establishing pragmatic political relations with the group, they were then able to seriously countenance the viability of trans-Afghan connectivity corridors. Russia is interested in reaching the Indian Ocean Region through PAKAFUZ (which can also unofficially be conceptualized as N-CPEC+), while China is pioneering the so-called “Persian Corridor” to Iran via Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The U.S., meanwhile, aims to use PAKAFUZ as a means for expanding its economic influence in the post-withdrawal Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics (CARs).”

As for India, it is finding itself left out of the process, he writes, because it is maintaining a geopolitical policy aimed at countering Pakistan. Nonetheless, he believes now India has begun to seriously reassess its policy away from geopolitical principles, which of course will require an improvement of relations with Pakistan. One option would be reversing the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 which dismantled the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir to bifurcate the region, which would admittedly be a very difficult political decision.

He concludes: “The very fact that the U.S., which is known for its geopolitically driven zero-sum policies, is joining together with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan in order to expand its economic influence in Central Asia speaks to just how dramatically everything is changing.”


Amb. Antonov on U.S. Media Fake News about Russian Foreign Policy

Ambassador Antonov on U.S. Media Fake News about Russian Foreign Policy 

July 21 (EIRNS) – In an interview with RT’s Rich Sanchez yesterday, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov commented on his dismay at all the fake news in the U.S. media on Russian foreign policy. The entire interview is here.

Sanchez opened discussing Merkel and Biden’s decision to drop any opposition to Nord Stream 2, and then asked Antonov if he thought Biden’s insistence that Nord Stream 2 is “geopolitical” stemmed from his need to “save face” with respect to U.S. relations to Ukraine.

“I don’t understand what you are talking about. What kind of political interest United States administration has in Ukraine? Ukraine is too far.”  He went on. “I discussed this issue with many politicians and sometimes, frankly, I’m not kidding… but some of them don’t know where Ukraine is!  So I don’t understand why it’s so important for United States. It seems to me that some political figures, some politicians just only would like to use Ukraine as a tool to press on Russia, to change Russian independent foreign policy, or Russian economic policy. Or, as you, the United States call it, as ‘malign activities’ of Russian Federation on the international scene.”

Sanchez asked him about what Americans hear from the media, that Russia has expansionist ambitions, seizing Crimea, wanting to take over Ukraine, and what he thought about that?

Antonov replied:  “You have touched a very interesting issue. Every morning when I wake up, I open American newspapers, and I switch on my TV…. And sometimes I am shocked to get so much fake news, fake information about the Russian foreign policy,” he replied. “What I see today, we see a lack of confidence, a lack of trust between the United States and Russia. I am trying to find a day when Russia has become an enemy or a rival for the United States, and it’s rather difficult to say when it happened. It seems to me that maybe ten years ago, but not when the Ukrainian crisis started, it goes without saying.”

Sanchez’s last question, “Is there a way to put our relationship back together again?” drew the following reply from Antonov: “We have to fix it, the Russian government and American administration as well. Because, to have good relations between the United States and Russia is in the interests of the United States people, as well as Russian Federation. I could say, we are doomed for cooperation,” he said, and then echoing President Putin’s January 2020 call for the P5 summit, he went on: “We are the main nuclear states. We are permanent members of [the UN] Security Council. We bear special responsibility for peace. That’s why we have no time to quarrel. We have to fix many problems that we face today. For example, fighting against terrorism, climate change, and … we see what is going on now in Afghanistan after United States’ decision to withdraw their forces from this country.  I understand how much we have to do together.

“I would like to say, if anybody would like to create an island of security somewhere, in the United States, or in Europe, or in another continent, it will be a mistake. We can win together. When we are together, we can solve any issue, any problem that we face today,” Antonov concluded.


State Department Admits Sanctions Would Not Prevent Nord Stream 2

State Department Admits Sanctions Would Not Prevent Nord Stream 2

July 21 (EIRNS) –In comments to the press yesterday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated President Joe Biden’s recent statement that the United States suspended its sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project because they could hardly prevent the project’s completion. He explained that President Biden couldn’t have been any clearer when he met with Chancellor Merkel last week: “We continue to oppose Nord Stream 2. … We continue to believe it’s a bad deal for Germany, it’s a bad deal for Ukraine, it’s a bad deal for Europe and Europe’s broader energy security goals.” And, “of course in May we imposed sanctions on 19 entities and vessels, and at the same time … we have come to the conclusion … that it was not in our interest to significantly undermine … the relationship we have with our ally, Germany for a pipeline whose construction would continue, nonetheless.”

Price commented on reports by Bloomberg News that the U.S. and Germany were close to reaching an agreement on Nord Stream 2 that will reportedly include a provision that Germany will impose sanctions on Russia should Moscow use the pipeline to pressure Ukraine or engage in other “aggressive” behavior. “The Germans have put forward useful proposals…. That shared goal is ensuring that this pipeline cannot be weaponized against Ukraine, against any other European partner. That is our goal in doing so. I do expect we’ll be able to share more details on this today.”

State Department Counselor Derek Chollet arrived in Ukraine for discussions yesterday, and then headed for Poland which also opposes Nord Stream 2. According to Bloomberg, the draft agreement with Germany would seek to promote investments of as much as $1 billion in a so-called Green Fund to help Ukraine’s transition to cleaner sources of energy. Germany reportedly would commit to an initial $175 million investment in the fund, and would also appoint a special envoy—with $70 million of funding—to support bilateral energy projects with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, in a posting to his website, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) denounced the reports of an administration agreement, growling that, “If the reports and details of a deal are accurate, this will be a generational geopolitical win for Putin and a catastrophe for the United States and our allies. President Biden is defying U.S. law and has utterly surrendered to Putin.”


Lavrov: Developing Central Asia, Afghanistan Opens “New Vistas” for Eurasian Continent; U.S. Participation Needed

July 20, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov captured the potential world-transforming change which can be brought about, if the nations of the world join together in developing Afghanistan and the Central Asian nations, when he addressed the plenary session of the conference on “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities” in Uzbekistan on July 16.

“The representative nature of this event is vivid proof of the increasing demand for a unification agenda in Eurasia and the rest of the world,” he began, in thanking Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev for organizing the conference. He situated the building of connectivity between Central and South Asia within the greater project of developing the giant continent of Eurasia as one “seamless, united logistical” economic hub of transportation, trade, power, development.

“Russia has been consistently in favor of forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership, a congregative integration contour in the entire space from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, one that is maximally free for the movement of goods, capital, the workforce and services, and open, without exception, to all the countries of our common continent, Eurasia, and the integration unions created there, including the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” all organizations which have displayed an interest in this initiative, Lavrov explained.

“Implementing this long-term project will make it possible not only to accelerate the economic development of all participants but also to create a reliable material foundation of common security, stability and prosperity.”

He cited, in particular, the efforts which seek to integrate the EAEU plans and the Belt and Road project and “the North-South International Transport Corridor linking Europe, and the South Caucasus and Central Asia with the Indian Ocean coast, as well as to the Europe-West China transcontinental transport route.”

“In this broad context, higher connectivity between Central and South Asia is opening new vistas for the development of trade, economic and investment processes on the Eurasian continent….”

This will not happen without a comprehensive settlement of the Afghanistan conflict, he argued; “only direct and inclusive intra-Afghan talks with the support of international partners can lead to a lasting peace.” Lavrov named three “tried and tested mechanisms” as key to mobilizing that support: the Shanghai Cooperation Organization-Afghanistan Contact Group, and the two known as the “Moscow format” and the “extended Troika,” the latter formed by the US, Russia, China, and Pakistan working together.

When a reporter at Lavrov’s discussion with the press in Tashkent asked him if he thought the U.S. had deliberately carried out its withdrawal in such a way as to cause trouble in Russia’s “area of geopolitical interests,” Lavrov refused to take the bait. “I do not believe in conspiracy theories. I heard that perhaps this hasty withdrawal was in pursuit of some kind of geopolitical goals. We should not speculate about it.” Russia is “not interested in chaos” in Afghanistan, and “we will continue working with the Americans in the extended Troika format, as well as with all other countries that can influence the situation in Afghanistan,” he answered.


Russian Call for Four-Power Strategic Dialogue, U.S.-Russia-India-China

June 21 (EIRNS) — Andrey Shushentsov, Program Director of the Valdai Discussion Club and Director of the Institute of International Studies at MGIMO University, argues in a short essay published on the Valdai Club website that a strategic dialogue among the United States, Russia, China and India is necessary to prevent the current state of affairs from devolving into open conflict. However, Shushentsov limits himself to the necessity of preventing the geopolitical confrontations now in play from turning into military conflict without ever mentioning the positive potential of those four powers to create a new world credit system as defined by Lyndon LaRouche in 2009.

“In a chaotic environment, the leading powers seek to secure themselves a privileged position in the international system and limit the opportunities for their key competitors,” Shushentsov writes. He notes in the first part of the essay that these four countries are the most powerful nuclear powers and have four of the world’s six largest economies. He notes further the strategic competition between America and Russia, between America and China–including the U.S. effort to rope India into the “Quad” vs China, and the positive relations between Russia and India. “Unprovoked crises or spontaneous episodes of conflict in relations within the Big Four nuclear powers can disrupt progressive global economic processes,” he writes further. “In this regard, these four powers should be mutually attentive and prudent, channeling their rivalry into a non-military area.”

Therefore, Shushentsov writes, “It is the responsibility of the expert community of the four countries to carefully study the train of thought of their competing partners in order to exclude the sudden development of a conflict. In this regard, it seems reasonable to create a permanent format for consultation among the high-level experts of Russia, the USA, China and India. To ensure that mutual deterrence does not lead to strategic disruptions and war, it is necessary to manage relations, emphasizing an interest in cooperation with respect to common areas, such as climate, the ecology, digital development, space, mining, demography, migration and counteracting natural disasters. The purpose of the high-level consultations is to prevent a shift from strategic containment to impulsive attempts to break the emerging status quo,” 

He concludes. “The formation of a stable dialogue format for the four leading global powers in the 21st Century will make it possible to minimize the likelihood of an impulsive breakdown into open conflict, the potential for which remains a factor in global politics.”


NSA’s Jake Sullivan: Biden and Xi Jinping to Confer Soon

June 18 (EIRNS)–NSA Jake Sullivan was emphatic at his Thursday on-the-record call with reporters that Biden would follow up on his summit with Vladimir Putin, with a discussion with China’s Xi Jinping. The White House transcript stated, “[T]he notion that President Biden will engage in the coming month with President Xi in some way to take stock of where we are in the relationship and to ensure that we have that kind of direct communication that we found valuable with President Putin yesterday, we’re very much committed to that. It’s now just a question of when and how.”

The bulk of his press conference was to report how successful Biden had been on his European trip, basically, that he’s taken leadership of the West with his B3W–Build Back Better World, “a new infrastructure initiative… that will be a high-standards, transparent, climate-friendly alternative to the Belt Road Initiative.” He has NATO sold on “tackling China… for the first time, truly taking the security challenge posed by China seriously… and standing up to, countering and pushing back on China’s non-market economic practices…” With no irony intended, he described how governments supervising a deal between Airbus and Boeing (with agreements on investments and tariffs) so as to curtail China’s large passenger aircraft industry, is an example of the ending of “non-market economic practices.”

Sullivan described how pulling together such a Western alliance means that one can deal with Russia as a “principled engagement” – presumably, making our values clear to the opponent while identifying areas to work together. The question was posed: After Russia, does that mean “you can go on to a bilateral discussion with President XI and how’re you taking that on”?

Sullivan then elaborated: “[W]hat the President said, about there being no substitute for leader-level dialogue as a central part of why he held the summit with Putin yesterday, also applies to China and to President Xi Jinping. He will look for opportunities to engage with President XI going forward. We don’t have any particular plans at the moment, but I would note that both leaders are likely to be at the G20 in Italy in October…[W]e will sit down to work out the right modality for the two presidents to engage.” He referred to two modalities – possibly by phone or by a side-meeting at an international meeting – and then, or “something else.” Sullivan’s briefing remarks are here.

At a follow-up press conference on Thursday with the State Department’s Ned Price, Robert Delaney, the Washington DC reporter for the South China Morning Post, referred to Sullivan’s announcement and brought up the previous roadblocks (the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the Wuhan lab and the coronavirus, and such). Price referred back to Sullivan’s explanation and then reaffirmed the “principled engagement” line.


Ryabkov: No Delay; We Will Follow Up Strategic Security Talks

June 18 (EIRNS) — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov commented very positively on the Biden-Putin Summit in an interview with TASS, posted today.

“It was an active dialogue, rich in terms of contents and specifics, multi-layered. Generally, I note for myself that it was a summit meeting in every sense of this word,” Ryabkov said.

“A new start. A new beginning…Whether there will be an upward movement – the question remains open,” He continued. “But the fact that the desire not to escalate [tensions] further, but to look for ways out of deadlocks prevailed, that is a fact,” he said.

“There were no major breakthroughs, but given the state of relations, there could not have been. Nevertheless, especially in terms of the stability and security in the field of information and communications technology, they have achieved shifts in a constructive direction. As for the regional issues — it was rather an exchange of estimates and well-known views so it passed rather predictably,” the deputy minister explained.

On the proposal made at the summit for strategic stability talks Ryabkov said, “I would say that we have a chain of direct instructions from the leadership in order to avoid pauses in practical interaction with the U.S. This specifically concerns strategic stability and ICT security…,” the senior diplomat said.

“We are launching without delay and without pauses the implementation of the achieved understandings, putting their translation into practice. And we expect very much an American response,” Ryabkov stressed.

According to Ryabkov, Biden did not engage in barnstorming for U.S. allies at the summit, but dealt with bilateral concerns.

“Specifically at this meeting, I would not say that there was talk about such American intercession, similar to the one that took place a few weeks ago, when Washington suddenly became very concerned about including the Czech Republic in our list of unfriendly states. There was not anything similar at this meeting,” he said. “But it is also the fact that [U.S. President Joe] Biden came to Geneva with a whole series of joint documents the Collective West, as they say, adopted recently in different formats behind him, and it was felt. This was expected, and ultimately it is not so important whether this or that position of the United States is being worked out individually, or is shared by a number of other states. After all, it is the substantial part, which is important, and we receive it in the form of signals, some expectations or claims. We focus on the meaning, and not on the number of signatories under this or that signal”.

As for allegations against Russia made by Washington, he said they were totally groundless.

“We have no need to explain the red lines to the U.S. We have long understood what our colleagues in Washington talk about, when they use various languages of this or similar meaning. But we don’t even cross these red lines, because all their accusations that we act like we should not, are totally groundless. And this is one of the fundamental problems in relations with the U.S.,” he said.

“As for our red lines, I think President [Putin] explained it so clearly for everyone that I don’t think any further comment is necessary. And the talk about where we see the special acuteness of problems in regards to the U.S.’s behavior was quite straightforward and honest in Geneva,” the senior diplomat noted.


Matlock: We Withdrew from Basic Agreements with Russia

June 18 (EIRNS)–The National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. published on June 16 a package of interviews with all of the U.S. ambassadors to Russia since the late 1980’s, starting with Jack Matlock. EIR has yet to review the entire package but Russian President Vladimir Putin figures largely in the interviews as he’s been there for the entire period of those ambassadorships. The response of Jack Matlock, who was ambassador to the then-Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, to a question on Putin, is of significance, given the recent British effort to mythologize the history of that period, particularly with respect to German re-unification and NATO expansion.

“I think to be fair to Putin, I would say he started out being-–hoping to be-–an ally of the United States. He was the first to call President Bush after 9/11; he offered full cooperation in our invasion of Afghanistan, including overflights, intelligence, and so on,” Matlock noted. “What did we do in exchange?”

“We withdrew from some of our most basic agreements with Russia,” Matlock went on, answering his own question. “We kept expanding NATO, something that the first President Bush had promised Gorbachev we would not do if he allowed the unification of Germany and Germany to stay in NATO. Step by step we pulled out of even our most basic agreements and then, increasingly, are surrounding Russia, right up to their borders, right up to beyond their borders of the former Soviet Union, with a military alliance which they are not in.”

Matlock was not endorsing the style of internal politics in Russia and expressed his own view that there are things he believes Putin has done that have been damaging to Russia but, he stressed, “the Russian people are entitled to choose their leadership, and though his popularity may not be quite what it used to be, it is still greater in Russia than any of our recent presidents have been in the United States. And I would suggest that, before we condemn him too much, we think about that.”


Forget Geopolitics: Save Lives With Vaccines, Ibero-American Experts Tell Atlantic Council

Forget Geopolitics, Save Lives With Vaccines, Ibero-American Experts Tell Atlantic Council

May 26 (EIRNS)—On May 24, the Atlantic Council sponsored a webinar “The Race to Vaccinate: Chinese Vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean,” including Guyana’s Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony as its special guest, and a panel of three commentators including Chile’s former ambassador to China, Jorge Heine, epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Bouey of the RAND Corporation, and Ernesto Londoño, the New York Times correspondent in Brazil. Although the Atlantic Council has eagerly participated in the recent media and think tank rug-chewing about China’s vaccines being just a “cynical” political maneuver to increase its influence In Latin America and the Caribbean, moderator Pepe Zhang had to handle the discussion in an even-handed way—unable to directly challenge the reality that China’s vaccines are savings lives in the region, while the U.S. is absent.

That point was driven home in spades in response to one of Zhang’s carefully-constructed questions, about whether China’s “vaccine diplomacy” represents “a new avenue for engagement” in the region. Ambassador Heine quickly dispensed with the narrative coming from Western media and Washington think tanks that China is using its vaccines for political leverage and “domination,” stating that the issue here is timing. Chinese vaccines come “now” to Latin America whereas the U.S. and European countries are hoarding and talking about 2022 or 2023. That’s no good, he said, describing as absurd the discussion in the Western media comparing the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine to China’s Sinopharm, whose efficacy is reportedly 70%. “This is rich country club talk,” he pronounced. The perception of Chinese vaccines in the region is very high, Heine added. Latin America is “ground zero” for COVID cases and deaths, and how the crisis is handled “will be remembered for a very long time,” he warned. So, the U.S. should get going, and start providing vaccines fast.

While initially offering a factual report on the situation in Guyana and the surrounding region, Dr. Anthony made the same point. China had donated large quantities of PPE and lab equipment as well as 20,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine. (Anglo-American media lie that China never donates anything. India donated 800,000 doses. USAID offered a grant, “but no vaccines.” The situation in the region is now critical, he warned, with a surge in cases and deaths in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. Guyana and the region have also been driven into deep economic crises. The bottom line, he said, is that there aren’t enough vaccines. That is the case across the Caribbean, he underscored, where vaccination rates are extremely low. He pointed out that it’s easier to store Sinopharm vaccines because they don’t require the same cold-chain capacity as Pfizer. President Biden has donated 4,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Mexico and Canada and is offering Southeast Asia more, but, Dr. Anthony added, “we’re in the U.S.’s backyard, and with more vaccines, we can change the situation.”

Even the New York Times correspondent, Ernesto Londoño, noted that while the U.S. warns that dealing with China “comes at a price,” the reality is that China responded to many countries in their “hour of need…they showed up first and scaled a victory,” while the U.S. was hoarding vaccines. And when asked whether there were “geopolitical competition” between China and the U.S. in the region, the RAND Corporation’s Dr. Jennifer Bouey, a Chinese-American epidemiologist who has extensive experience working in China, responded that the current situation could offer an opportunity for the U.S. and China to work together, as they had done in the past, collaborating on SARS, Avian flu, and Ebola to “build a public good.” So, she said, the precedent is there. In concluding, Zhang asked each participant to express a final message, to which Heine said: Get U.S. vaccines to Latin America ASAP; Londoño, in the face of enormous loss, help must come soon; Anthony: get the vaccines in ASAP. Dr. Bouey: U.S., Chinese and Latin American scientists can work together in resolving the crisis.


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