lørdag 16. januar 2021

China pushes 'vaccine diplomacy' in Southeast Asia

China is using supplies of its Sinovac Biotech's vaccine to boost its influence in Southeast Asia ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week. As part of the vaccine push, Foreign Minister Wang Yi is currently touring the region. He has visited Myanmar, Indonesia and Brunei, and will wrap up his trip in Manila on Saturday.

At a news conference with Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Wednesday, Wang said China will continue to supply vaccines to the country, stressing that the two nations will overcome COVID-19 and lay the foundation for economic recovery. President Joko Widodo received the Indonesia's first dose of the Sinovac vaccine at the presidential palace in Jakarta the same day, becoming the first person in the country to be vaccinated.

"Vaccination is important to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission and give protection to us and safety to every Indonesian and help accelerate economic recovery," Jokowi said after getting his injection.

The Indonesian government has so far received 3 million ready-to-use doses of the Sinovac vaccine, and as of Tuesday, 1.2 million doses had been distributed nationwide. Fifteen million does of bulk vaccines also arrived this week.