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U.S. Pledges to Send 80M Doses Worldwide by End of June; Infections Surge in Latin America Amid Slow Vaccine Rollout; Hong Kong Police Detain Vigil Organizer on Anniversary; Student Leader Who Survived Crackdown Speaks Out; Australia's Slow Vaccine Rollout Causes Frustration; Fauci Responds to Criticism Over Publicly Released Emails; Biden Unveils Expanded List of Banned Chinese Companies; U.K. Newspaper Report Renews Debate Over Royal Family Racism. Aired 12- 12:45a ET

Aired June 4, 2021 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from CNN's world headquarters. Hello. I'm John Vause.


And coming up this hour, the long-awaited details of how the U.S. plans to share millions of doses of excess COVID vaccine with the rest of the world. President Joe Biden promising this is just the beginning.

The White House broadens the scope of a Trump-era blacklist of Chinese companies linked to the military, another sign the U.S. will continue the hardline policy towards Beijing.

Officially, Hong Kong's annual vigil remembering the crackdown in Tiananmen Square is banned because of fears of the pandemic, which doesn't really explain why 3,000 police are on standby.

For months, as the coronavirus outbreak surged in many countries where vaccine was in critical short supply, they've been waiting for details on how the U.S. would distribute millions of doses of excess vaccine.

Now, the President, Joe Biden, has announced part of the plan, saying the United States is ready to help fill a vaccine shortage around the world with tens of millions of additional doses, but it's not because the U.S. does not need them.

Just 63 percent of American adults have received at least one dose. That's still short of Biden's goal of 70 percent by July 4.

Among the unvaccinated, shots are becoming a hard sell. Daily doses have dropped below one million for the first time since January. The overall rate has plummeted by two-thirds from its peak back in April.

The latest pitch is to offer beer, tickets, even big cash prizes to entice the latecomers. But as the Biden White House sees it, this is still a global pandemic. The U.S. has a moral obligation to vaccinate as many as possible, even in some if his own are balking at the prospect.

So the United States says it will ship 80 million doses from the stockpiles over the next few weeks, starting now.


JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Our goal in sharing our vaccines is in service of ending the pandemic globally. We're sharing them in a wide range of countries within Latin America and the Caribbean, south and Southeast Asia, and across Africa in coordination with the African community.

This includes prioritizing our neighbors here in our hemisphere, including countries like Guatemala, Columbia, Peru, and Ecuador and many others.


VAUSE: This plan took months to come together. And the president said humanitarian concerns were the overriding motive. He offered this statement: "We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values."

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more now on the U.S. effort to send millions of doses around the globe.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The United States has more than enough vaccine to vaccinate the entire country against COVID-19. And so today, the White House announced how much vaccine would be given to other countries and when and where it will ship.

So let's take a look. The plan is to send 19 million doses to COVAX. That's the international vaccine initiative. Of those, 6 million will go to Latin America and the Caribbean, 7 million to Asia, and 5 million to Africa.

Six million doses will be shared directly with countries in need.

(on camera): Now these doses represent a sizable chunk of the vaccines that are being produced in the United States, and there are plans to make more.

Let's take a listen to Jeff Zients, the White House official coordinating the COVID response.

JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: These 80 million doses represent 13 percent of the total vaccines produced by the United States by the end of this month. We will continue to donate additional doses across the summer months as supply becomes available, but at the same time, we know that won't be sufficient.


So the second part of our approach is working with U.S. vaccine manufacturers to vastly increase vaccine supply for the rest of the world in a way that also creates jobs here at home.


COHEN: Most Americans are glad that the United States is taking a leading role in distributing these vaccines. Let's take a look at results from a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

Kaiser asked people living in the United States, should the U.S. play a leading or major role in distributing vaccines to other countries? Sixty-six percent said yes. Eighty-eight percent of Democrats said yes. Sixty-five percent of independence said yes. Only 41 percent of Republicans said yes.

Sharing vaccines worldwide, of course, can save lives in other countries, but it can also save lives in the United States. Viruses, of course, they don't know borders. So when a virus starts in one country, as we have seen, it can easily go to another.

Also, variants can develop in other countries and potentially come back to the United States, and for those variants, it's possible that the vaccine might not work terribly well. So it's also the United States' best interest to be sharing this vaccine to help stop the growth of variants.

Back to you.


VAUSE: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. would be able to avoid new mass outbreaks of the coronavirus if enough Americans get vaccinated. But he's concerned that many states have a vaccination rate below 50 percent.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Whatever it takes, make it extremely easy for people to get vaccinated. Give incentives. Do whatever you can to get people to get vaccinated. That's what we really need to do.

If you have a very high percentage of people vaccinated, you're not going to see a substantial blip. You may see a little, but not anything that even resembles a surge.

What my concern is is in those states in which you have relatively few, compared to others, people vaccinated, when you're below 50 percent of the people being vaccinated. That is when you're going to have a problem.

As a nation, I feel fairly certain you're not going to see the kind of surges we've seen in the past. What I am concerned about are those states in which the level of vaccination is low, that you may continue to see higher levels of cases as we get into the summer.


VAUSE: So far, just 12 U.S. states have met the president's threshold of 70 percent of adults fully vaccinated.

Many countries in Latin America have been facing a sluggish vaccine rollout with limited supplies and now surging numbers of infections.

Stefano Pozzebon reports now from Bolto (ph) -- Bogota, I should say, on a growing vaccine divide.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice-over): Tens of thousands of people staged protests across Brazil this weekend, demanding President Jair Bolsonaro's removal over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brazil has recorded the third highest number of cases in the world after the U.S. and India and is now facing a possible third wave of COVID-19.

On Wednesday Brazil reported its second highest number of new infections in a single day, but the entire region is struggling. The Pan-American Health Organization sounding the alarm as Central America reported last week, the highest number of COVID-19 deaths to date. And the doubling of new cases in Bolivia (ph), El Salvador and Panama.

As Europe and the United States relax international travel restrictions, Latin America is bracing for more cases. And there aren't enough vaccines to go around.

Om Central America, countries like Guatemala and Honduras have only fully vaccinated less than 1 percent of their population, in sharp contrast with the millions fully vaccinated up north.

(on camera): What is particularly worrying, even with cases numbers rising, is that some restrictions are being lifted prematurely, in some cases to try to help a battered economy. But with more people on the move, experts feel the virus could spread even further.

(voice-over): Colombia's capital, Bogota, is set to lift most restrictions next week.

CLAUDIA LOPEZ, MAYOR OF BOGOTA, COLUMBIA: It sounds completely contradictory, and frankly, from an epidemiologic point of view, it's completely contradictory to reopen the city when ICUs are at 97 percent, and new cases are growing.

But from a social and economic point of view, with unemployment disproportionately affecting youngsters and women, it's the right thing to do.

POZZEBON: Brazil is now preparing to host a major football tournament. The Copa America, which could become another superspreader event in a country where the situation is far from under control.

The only solution, experts say, is to boost vaccinations. The Biden administration on Thursday announcing plans to share at least 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses globally, making Latin America a priority.

SULLIVAN: Finally, I want to talk a little bit about where we are sharing these first 25 million doses. We're sharing them in a wide range of countries within Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and across Africa in coordination with the African Union.


This includes prioritizing our neighbors here in our hemisphere, including countries like Guatemala and Columbia, Peru, and Ecuador and many others.

POZZEBON: With just six million doses allocated so far across more than a dozen different countries in the region, even that effort seems just a drop in the ocean. And the cases only destined to keep piling up.

Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Bogota.


VAUSE: Well, for a second year, there will be a ban on a vigil in Hong Kong to mark the crackdown on Tiananmen Square. A memorial has been held in Hong Kong for decades, but this year authorities did not issue a permit, citing COVID concerns.

The last year many defied a ban and gathered anyway, but now a new national security law makes it clear that China will no longer tolerate pro-democracy dissent.

The demonstrations in Tiananmen Square 33 years ago captured the world's attention. Thousands of students first began gathering there, demanding reforms that were joined by many others and then on June 4, 1989, Chinese troops launched a bloody crackdown. Officially the death toll was around 300. It's believed thousands outside of the square were roundup detained, others were killed.

Let's go to our Kristie Lu Stout we have standing by in Hong Kong. We also have Will Ripley there in Taipei. We're also out there with Kristie is, who is live this hour in Victoria Park.

So Kristie, what's happening there? I guess nothing besides the rain?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not much happening here. I am standing in Victoria Park. This was home of the once annual Tiananmen vigil on this sensitive anniversary.

In the run-up to this day, there were local media reports that up to 7,000 riot police would be out in force ready to take action against any unauthorized gatherings, but we have not seen any such show of force.

And that said, there have been at least two arrests made this day, including the arrest of Chow Hang Tung. She is a vigil organizer with the Hong Kong alliance. She was detained at her home earlier today for publicizing and unauthorized assembly.

For 2 years in a row, Hong Kong police here have banned the once annual Tiananmen vigil citing coronavirus restrictions and I should note on Thursday there was only one reported imported case of the virus and in recent weeks, there have been a number of mass or large social gathering events, including the Hong Kong art fair.

But I want to hear directly from the superintendent of Hong Kong island, hear directly from the Hong Kong police, how they rationalized the ban.


LIAUW KA-KEI, SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT, HONG KONG ISLAND REGION: Police have reasonable grounds to believe that the activities not only increased the risk of infecting COVID-19 by participants, and other people. but also posed serious threats to the lives and health of all citizens, jeopardizing public safety and affecting the lives of others.


STOUT: Now, for over 30 years, tens of thousands of people, if not more, were gathered here at the site around 8 p.m. local time. It would be a sea of candles, a sea of flickering lights. Now, such a scene, not expected to happen tonight.

We did get a statement from the exiled pro-democracy leader, Nathan Hui, about the vigil ban and about what this moment means for Hong Kong. Let's bring up the statement for you.

In the statement, Nathan Hul says this, quote, "The government is using the public health concerns as excuses to ban the vigil politically. It is obvious that the government even tries to criminalize the active commemorating the event. The banning of the June 4th vigil is an example of the government eroding our freedom in a drastic way," unquote.

Now the security barrier (ph) here in Hong Kong, they have said that anyone who takes part in an unauthorized assembly or publicized unauthorized assembly could face jail time.

That last year, the vigil was banned, citing coronavirus restrictions. In August, 24 people were arrested, including the high-profile activist Joshua Wong. It was just last month in May he was sentenced to an additional 10 months in jail for his participation in last year's vigil.

That said, and despite the ban, a number of Hongkongers do plan to remember the victims of Tiananmen by lighting a candle at home by taking part in vigils at churches this evening across Hong Kong. And according to Lee Cheuk-yan, the imprisoned veteran activist, he's

in jail for his role in the 2019 protest. He says that he plans to commemorate this day and remember Tiananmen by lighting not a candle, but a cigarette in his jail sale -- John.

VAUSE: Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout there, live in Victoria Park in Hong Kong.

Let's go over now to Will Ripley, who is in Taipei's Liberty Square. And this is one place where we do expect there will be some kind of memorial to mark the crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've actually moved away from Liberty Square, John, because as you can see, we're in the front ends of a tropical cyclone that is moving in and is going to essentially prevent the limited gathering that was going to happen at Liberty Square.

In fact, it wasn't even a gathering. People were going to be dropping off flowers, but that's obviously going to be made difficult. They are going to put up tents to try to see if people can leave flowers, but because of the COVID outbreak that Taiwan is dealing with, its most severe outbreak this pandemic, and now combined with the rain, you're not going to see crowds gathering here in Taiwan, as they would on normal years.

Which means that, for the first time since the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese speaking world will not have a formal mass gathering to mark the anniversary. I spoke with one of the student organizers of that event 32 years ago, reflecting on its significance, especially right now.


WU'ER KAIXI, TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: Being a survivor of the June 4 massacre, and participant of 1989 student movement, I certainly appreciate Hong Kong peoples commemorating the June 4. But, the Beijing regime, together with its puppet in Hong Kong, said no to our challenge, to our demand for freedom. To the demand of Hong Kong people for their freedom and democracy.

RIPLEY: You've said the western world lost a city.

KAIXI: Yes. We should see the world map more like free world, versus the enemy of them. So if the world is two-color, then Hong Kong has just changed color.

RIPLEY: How would you respond to those who might think that the protesters pushed too much? Too far? That's what the pro-Beijing camp says in Hong Kong.

KAIXI: Well, they also said we did that in 1989. And it's not much different from accusing a rape victim of wearing -- too exposed. Of course, it's the communist party to be blamed, first. You cannot blame the victim.

RIPLEY: Is there any hope for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong at this point?

KAIXI: There is -- there's no way of sugarcoating it. It is one of the darkest times in Hong Kong's history, I believe. There is a silver lining. I see, in the last two or three years, a U.S.-led western democracy who enabled China's Beijing to conduct all these atrocities. It's coming around a little and realized what they have done, and then coming to a point to thinking of changing this failed China policy.

RIPLEY: You left China 32 years ago, after many of your fellow students died. Now we're sitting here at Liberty Square. Do you worry about the future of democracy here in Taiwan? Given what some have called Chinese military intimidation?

KAIXI: Of course. You have to worry about democracy all the time. Even with living in democracy. That threat to Taiwan is -- is military. It's over 1,000 warheads pointing at this island from the flow of China. People here, in Taiwan, bring in our own freedom, and they know it. And they -- because they have earned it, and then they will defend it.


RIPLEY: We'er Kaixi speaking there. Thankfully, the weather was better last night when we spoke than it is today. We'll keep monitoring the situation to see how many people actually will be coming out. And obviously, this is an exceptional year for many reasons.

But here in Taiwan, they are certain, they say, that they will continue to mark the Tiananmen anniversary in a formal way, and perhaps, the gathering, which was the second largest in the Chinese speaking world, may now become the single gathering. We'll see if it gets bigger next year. Hopefully, the pandemic is under control, of course, and the weather.

VAUSE: Yes. Couple others (ph) there. Will, thank you. Will Ripley, live for us in Taipei.

Coming up, here is a problem mostly facing wealthy countries. When those eligible to be vaccinated don't show up. What should be done with their unused doses? Throw them out? Give them away? How millennials in Australia are turning up while Gen X and the boomers stay home.



VAUSE: For the world's wealthiest nations, cornering the market on COVID vaccines brings the luxury of not just deciding when but also if they'll be vaccinated.

In Australia, a nationwide vaccination program has barely made a dent. Since vaccinations began in February, just over 2 percent of the population have received both shots. It's only in recent weeks that the rollout has been gaining some traction. Keep in mind, Australia was spared the worst of the pandemic, and the

conservative government there has actively encouraged a slow vaccine uptake by repeatedly saying, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

But here's the problem facing not just Australia, but other wealthy nations, as well. What happens when those eligible to be vaccinated just don't show? Here's Angus Watson with more.


ANGUS WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Like many places around the world, Australia has prioritized older and vulnerable people in the early stages of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The problem? The rollout never quite got past those early stages. Very few Australians under the age of 40 are eligible to get a shot. And fewer than 1 million people in this country have had two doses of any COVID-19 vaccine.

The problem is both a supply issue and a hesitancy issue. Australia bet the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) AstraZeneca vaccine. It's the only COVID-19 vaccine that's being produced locally.

But earlier this year, Australia's drug regulators determined that that should be only given to people over the age of 50, due to the rare chance of people developing blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

People under the age of 50 told to wait until later in the year, until more Pfizer shots become available. There's a shortage of those in Australia at the moment.

The problem is that older people are saying they want to wait, too, towards the end of the year, to get a vaccine that, they see is superior to AstraZeneca vaccine, which they worry about potential side effects of.

Meanwhile, millennials, particularly, are saying they would happily get the AstraZeneca vaccine if it diminished the chances of a lockdown, like the one that we're seeing in Victoria right now. The state government there is saying that this lockdown may not have had to happen if the Australian government was quicker with its vaccine rollout.

Just over 30,000 Australians have caught COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and there are wide places around Australia where those are very few restrictions and very few cases.

But borders remain closed. Very few people are allowed into the country. In fact, 35,000 Australians, or more, around the world want to come back into the country but can't.

Meanwhile, Australians here have to apply to the government to leave. A change in those circumstances depends on the vaccine rollout, but the government says, it's not a race. Many here disagree.

Angus Watson, CNN, Sydney, Australia.


VAUSE: And like other fellow Australians, 36-year-old Sarah Moran talking her way into getting a vaccination and is now campaigning for excess vaccine capacity to be made available to anyone who wants it.

Over the past week, thousands of signed her online position. Sarah is with us now from Melbourne.

Congratulations on being vaccinated. It's a good feeling. This, though, seems to be fairly low-hanging fruit, to be honest. When the number of those eligible for a shot falls below the designated supply, make the excess available to those who are willing to show up.

It's kind of happening, but it's hit-or-miss right now, isn't it? It's an ad hoc arrangement. What you would like is something more formal.

SARAH MORAN, CAMPAIGNING FOR EXCESS VACCINES TO BE DISTRIBUTED: Yes. At the moment, it's very much -- I mean, I had to beg. I turned up, and there was empty queues, and I was like, Hey, you know, maybe you would like to jab my arm today. And I was very, very grateful that the person said yes.


Since starting my campaign, I've heard a variety of different reports from around Australia, from some people who have been able to get their vaccine. One of the main things is that some of the vaccines are almost expired, and some lucky Gen Y and Gen Z's have stepped up to take it before it gets thrown out. So that's been good to see, for sure.

VAUSE: Well, here's another repercussion, if you like, from Australia's slow vaccine rollout. The current pace of roughly 658,000 doses a week, it will take a year to fully vaccinate Australia's adult population.

And all the while, these unused, perishable vaccines, as you say, will be discarded. So is there any modeling, or is there a projection, on how that timeframe could be shortened, or changed, if outside of the priority group, they're encouraged to receive a dose which is left over, as opposed to being caught up in a crackdown? Which seems to be the case in Victoria right now.

MORAN: Well, various people are doing different modeling. My cofounder and I stayed up last night, actually just running spreadsheets, saying, OK, well, what if we did this by this date and this by this date. All of which were quite depressing, if I'm to be absolutely honest with you.

And -- and even this morning, we've just had our Victorian premier say that they could be doing double the doses in -- by our GPs, by our general practitioners, our local doctors could be doing double, if the vaccines were available. So there's definitely more that could be done. And because we looked

out at the moment, it's actually the fifth reason you can leave your home is to go and get the vaccine.

Now, we're seeing a massive uptick of people getting the vaccine, in line with the fact that they're in lockdown. It's, you know, one of the few reasons to leave the house.

But when we all start to return to work and doing other things after lockdown, I'm not confident that that -- that momentum will be maintained.

One of the big issues has definitely been that you have to book appointments, and people, for various reasons, which you can completely understand, haven't shown up for their appointments.

What we're really trying to say is that we will be ready, we will be ready when those appointments are broken.

VAUSE: Whether those who say, listen, you are a 36-year-old white woman who presumably has no pre-existing conditions. You're in pretty good health. Your chances of dying from COVID are miniscule.

High[risk eligible Australians, if they don't want the vaccine, then give their allocation to a country where there is a real, desperate need and do them first. What's your response?

MORAN: Absolutely. I mean, we also need to do a better job of vaccinating those in aged care, making sure those rural regions are getting vaccinated.

But it's not an either/or situation. It's all hands on deck to vaccinate the world at the moment. And there -- you know, there are vaccines that are here, that are produced here. They're ready to be rolled out. They do have expiry dates.

So, you know, then definitely, capacity to get them in arms before that date happens, which, you know, if we were to transport some of those overseas, you know, the ones that are towards the expiry date, we wouldn't get them in time anyway.

And I think it's all hands on deck. Let's go all-out. You know, this is a race, as much as we've heard it's not a race, I can tell you now, it is. And for me, personally, it's definitely been a race. Aiming to get back on IBF (ph).

VAUSE: Yes. Well, hey, good luck with that, and thank you for being with us. And well done on getting your vaccination, and not letting that vaccine go to waste. Good to see you there in Melbourne. Thank you.

Take care.

MORAN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Stay well. Well, living on the edge in central Mexico, literally. The edge being

a massive sinkhole, which came up all the way in the backyard of one family in the central part of the country.

It first appeared on Saturday, five meters wide, but it's now at least 60 meters across, 20 meters deep. The family has been evacuated. Officials say farming and the extraction of groundwater is most likely to blame.

Joe Biden borrows a page from Donald Trump as he makes a new push to get tough on China. The president bans investment in Chinese firms the White House says pose a threat to U.S. national security. A live report, the very latest from Beijing in a moment.

Also ahead, as cruise ships prepare to set sail once again, Dr. Anthony Fauci warns there's still a risk for outbreaks on board. How passengers can avoid a surge. That's also after the break.



VAUSE: The U.S. president, Joe Biden, says the United States will continue to help fill a vaccine shortage worldwide by sharing its excess capacity.

After months of deliberation, the Biden White House announced a plan to ship 80 million doses to India, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

By the end of the month, about 60 million of those doses in the U.S. stockpile are from AstraZeneca. That vaccine still needs U.S. government approval before it can be exported.

Hindsight is truly 20/20. Dr. Anthony Fauci says he would have handled some things differently at the start of the pandemic, had he known more about the virus. Wouldn't we all?

The nation's top infectious disease expert is now having to defend some of his emails from earlier in the outbreak after thousands were published online.

CNN's health reporter, Jacqueline Howard, has more now on the lessons he's learned.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH CORRESPONDENT: The Fauci emails that were released date back to between January and June of last year. And a lot has happened since then, especially when it comes to what researchers have learned about how the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads.

And it's interesting, in one of Fauci's old emails on February 5 of last year, he wrote that masks are really for infected people. But here's what he thinks about that now. FAUCI: If we knew back then that a substantial amount of transmission

was asymptomatic people, if we knew then that the data show that masks outside of a hospital setting actually do work, when we didn't know it then. If we realized all of those things back then, of course. You're asking the question would you have done something different if you know what you know now? Of course people would have done that. That's so obvious.

HOWARD: And of course, since then, masks have been found to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and they're now recommended in certain settings whether you are infected or not.

But also, this was interesting. Fauci reflected on the early outbreaks of COVID-19 on cruise ships. Switching gears to this, he says that risk still exists today on cruises if people are not vaccinated. Have a listen to this.

FAUCI: If you are on a boat with unvaccinated people, and you have a person who is infected, we know from experience with cruise ships, what can happen. You can have considerable outbreaks, because you are in a closed space.

HOWARD: And as people turn to traveling internationally again, especially in the next few months, this is all something to keep in mind.

Back to you.


VAUSE: Thank you.

Well, the number of Chinese companies off-limits to American investment is about to be expanded by a lot.

The administration says they're linked to China's military and surveillance capabilities and pose a threat to U.S. national security.

The president's executive order almost doubles the number which was initially on Donald Trump's black list, announced in November.

CNN's Steven Jiang is with us live from Beijing. One thing which is interesting about this list that's come out is that, to be truly effective, Joe Biden's going to need some help from the Europeans, as well as other nations around the world. And that may be what's coming up in this G-7 meeting in the next couple of weeks. So this is just the beginning, it seems.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right, John. It's very interesting in terms of timing, because this is probably the most forceful measure Mr. Biden has taken against China since he took office, but it's not a total surprise in terms of why he is doing it, when he's doing it and how he's doing it.

[00:35:05] Now, he and his senior officials have been saying for quite some time that they actually do not disagree with Mr. Biden's predecessor, Trump's assessment that China is a strategical rival of the U.S., that this challenge from Beijing needs to be addressed head on.

Where they disagreed, of course, was approach. While Mr. Trump preferred to go it alone, Mr. Biden has always said he wanted to form this united front with allies and partners, especially those that share the U.S. democratic values, to confront China.

And it is in this assessment and approach that we should be looking at this latest executive order from the White House, because not only the targeted Chinese companies, the number has almost doubled as you mentioned, but the scope has also expanded. They are on this list, not only because of their alleged ties with the people's liberation army, but also because of their technology is helping the regime in China to, in the words of Mr. Biden, to you know, repress ethnic and minority and religious minorities. And this obviously is a reference to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

And also I mentioned these technologies are now being exported to other countries to help other regimes do the same thing in terms of repression of human rights.

So that's why they are expanding the list and also clarifying things, because they're having cases, the Chinese companies successfully suing the government, the U.S. government to get off this list.

Now, the Chinese government has not formally responded to this, but when they were asked about this upcoming decision on Thursday, a foreign ministry official had made clear that they think all these measures are in total disregard with facts. He called on the U.S. government to correct its mistakes, to respect the law of order and the market, and to stop undermining global market financial orders, as well as investors' rights.

And also, he warned of unspecified consequences for the U.S., saying the Chinese would take counter measures to protect its companies' interests. But of course, we don't know kind of measures they will be taking, but a lot of analysts have pointed to this possibility of the Chinese government putting American companies, including very prominent global brands, on their so-called unreliable entity lists that could disrupt or even restrict a lot of their activities inside China -- John.

VAUSE: Steven, thank you. Steven Jiang, live for us in Beijing. Appreciate it.

Well, Iran's top negotiator is warning time is running out to salvage the international nuclear deal with Tehran, telling state news on Thursday the next round of talks might just be the last.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump ripped up the agreement in 2018. Talks have been underway for the last few months to try and bring the U.S. back into the agreement and Iran back into compliance.

The U.S. says challenges remain, and it's neither optimism or pessimism over the talks.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, a British newspaper report is raising new questions about the royal family, shedding new light on some old hiring practices. Details in a moment.



VAUSE: Vaccination rates in Japan remain stunningly low, and nine regions, as well as Tokyo, are in a state of emergency. But that's still not enough of a concern for Tokyo 2020 organizers, who again insist the games will go ahead.

The summer Olympics were postponed last year because of the pandemic, and are meant to start July 23. Opinion polls show most in Japan would like them to be canceled.

Japan's senior medical advisor says hosting the games is not normal.

CNN's Selina Wang spoke with a Japanese study specialist in Tokyo about this.


BARBARA HOLTUS, DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR, GERMAN INSTITUTE OF JAPANESE STUDIES IN TOKYO: We are not being given neither testing nor a vaccine, so we have to go in and out of the bubble at all times.

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think the Olympics should be held this year?

HOLTUS: No. No. Absolutely no. No. It's too dangerous. And I think it's absolutely the wrong message, at a time where the world is suffering, at a time where the virus is still going rampant in many countries.


VAUSE: Well, controversy erupted recently over claims of racism within the British royal family from Prince Harry and Meghan, duchess of Sussex. Now a report by the British newspaper "The Guardian" is renewing that public debate.

Documents long buried in the national archives indicated the queen's courtiers banned ethnic minority immigrants and foreigners from clerical roles at Buckingham Palace through the late 1960s. Hear more now from CNN's Anna Stewart.


ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a disturbing report. And it comes just weeks after the royal family had to declare that they are not racist.

Now we asked Buckingham Palace for a response to this report. They haven't denied the account given in the Sixties, but they have said this.

"Claims based on a second-hand account of conversations from over 50 years ago should not be used to draw or infer conclusions about modern-day events or operations. The principles of crown application and crown consent are long established and widely known."

Now, quite aside from the historical context and the suggestion here that there was systemic racism within the institution of the royal family, at least in the Sixties, there's also the fact that still today, the royal family does not have to comply to equality legislation. That is what is meant by crown application and crown consent.

Now, the palace said they do comply by such laws in spirit and in practice, but these complaints are essentially dealt with in house.

Plenty of questions have been raised by those claims made by Meghan and Prince Harry as to whether that process is good enough. And of course, the royal family have denied they're racist, but are they doing enough to protect and promote diversity within the royal household?

Anna Stewart, CNN, from outside Buckingham Palace in London.


VAUSE: Regardless of all of that, the business of state continues with Buckingham Palace announcing Queen Elizabeth will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle.

The meeting will take place while President Biden is in the U.K. for the G-7 summit later this month. The White House and Buckingham Palace have been working on details for days.

It will be the queen's first major meeting with a world leader since the death of her husband, Prince Philip. And the monarch has met with every president except Lyndon Johnson since she ascended the throne in 1952.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us, tough. After the break, WORLD SPORT.