mandag 19. juli 2021

A Pacific nation's Covid-19 crisis has become a political power play between China and Australia

China and Australia have found another battleground for their deepening diplomatic standoff: the Pacific Islands' pandemic response. Canberra has hit back at Beijing's claims it is derailing the rollout of Chinese vaccines in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the most-populous Pacific nation. "We support Papua New Guinea making sovereign decisions," Australia's minister for the Pacific, Zed Seselja, said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

That's not the way Beijing sees it. In early July, Chinese state-run tabloid Global Timesaccused Australia of sabotaging China's vaccine rollout in the Pacific. At a press conference earlier this month, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry slammed Australia for "undermining vaccine cooperation" in the region.