China prioritizes Covid-19 vaccine for Southeast Asia

China’s vice president said Beijing will prioritize the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to Southeast Asia, amid efforts in the region to speed up vaccinations.

“China is willing to make the supply of vaccines to ASEAN countries a priority issue, in order to assist in building up the region’s reserve medical supplies for public health emergencies, while increasing strengthen international cooperation in vaccine research, development and production distribution,” said Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan at the China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning city on September 10.

The Covid-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac is transported at the international airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on September 4.  Photo: Xinhua.

The Covid-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac is transported at the international airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on September 4. Photo: Xinhua.

Beijing’s latest commitment comes in the context of Southeast Asia struggling to cope with the worst wave of the pandemic that began in April due to the Delta mutation, forcing countries in the region to step up the fight against the virus. nationwide Covid-19 vaccination.

Indonesia, the Southeast Asian country that receives the most vaccines from China, hopes to be able to inject 50 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine each month. Meanwhile, the Philippines aims to vaccinate 90% of the population next year, higher than the previous target of 70%, to curb the spread of the Delta strain.

At the expo, Mr. Wang said that China has so far delivered nearly 200 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to ASEAN member countries.

China and 10 ASEAN countries, along with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, also signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), currently the world’s largest free trade agreement. Mr. Wang said China is willing to import more goods from ASEAN and called for the early implementation of RCEP.

Cambodia announced that it had ratified the RCEP on September 9, following in the footsteps of China, Singapore and Japan. Beijing expressed hope that the agreement will come into force on January 1 next year. RCEP is not yet in force, as it needs at least six ASEAN countries and three outside the bloc to ratify it.

Luster (Follow SCMP)


Leave a Comment