Liu Xiaoming stunned a meeting of British business figures by saying China was ‘advanced in terms of research on a vaccine’.
He added: ‘We are at the fourth phase of the process. We want to make this available to the world.’
Representatives from international drugs companies who were participating in the ‘webinar’ were astonished by the comments.
Phase four of a vaccine trial means it is ready to be rolled out to the wider population…
But when this newspaper approached the Chinese embassy about the ambassador’s remarks – in English, and clearly audible on a recording heard by The Mail on Sunday – the diplomats sent us a link to their own transcript, which had altered his words to ‘second phase’.