On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Yi told his counterparts from the ten member Association Of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, an economic union) that China had delivered 100 million vaccine doses, essential materials and technical help to ASEAN countries.
The meeting took place in China’s southwestern megacity Chongqing marking the 30th anniversary of formal relations between China and ASEAN. Wang continued, “In the process of jointly overcoming challenges, we have deepened friendship, mutual trust and common interests.”
Additionally, he talked about the need for establishing an expert panel to strengthen cooperation through the vaccine process. From research to use, the sides should work to build production and distribution centres and help make vaccines affordable as well as accessible.
According to the Foreign Minister, China would be urgently implementing the China-ASEAN Public Health Cooperation Initiative. It will continue to support the ASEAN Emergency Medical Materials Reserve along with strengthening regional public health capacity-building.
As per The Times of India, Beijing has been increasing its influence with the 10 member states, despite frictions with some members over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea. The bloc has failed to take a stand in the face of opposition from China’s allies within it.
On Monday, Wang assured China’s support for ASEAN’s non-interventionist approach. The spokesperson did not make any reference to Myanmar, an ASEAN member, that experienced a military coup d’état on the morning of Feb 1.
The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019. The lab leak theory has been resurrected by various governments due to the country’s lack of transparency. It seeks to strengthen its ties with the region where US, the chief geopolitical rival is doing the same.