A man receives a shot of COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb 28, 2021. (Photo/Xinhua)
China supports Indonesia's building of regional center for production of doses
In support of the global fight against COVID-19, Beijing announced its readiness to jointly promote fair and reasonable distribution of vaccines around the world, especially in the vast number of developing countries.
Regarding inoculation progress in East Asia, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China supports Indonesia's building of a regional vaccine production center.
Both statements were made as Wang talked with Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the Indonesian president's special envoy and the country's coordinator for cooperation with China, at the inaugural meeting of the China-Indonesia high-level dialogue cooperation mechanism on Saturday in Guiyang, Guizhou province.
Beijing will encourage clinical trials of more varieties of Chinese vaccines to be conducted in Indonesia, Wang said.
Luhut said that Indonesia would like to further cooperate with China in areas including vaccine research, development and production, covering the whole production chain, and to build a regional vaccine production center at an early date.
These moves come at a time when Beijing and Jakarta have great common ground regarding COVID-19 vaccines, officials said.
The two sides have offered each other medical supply assistance, and Indonesia was one of the first countries to provide anti-epidemic supplies to China, according to Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian.
At the meeting, Wang said China firmly rejects vaccine nationalism and opposes the creation of immunization disparities. Beijing has announced its support for exempting its COVID-19 vaccines from intellectual property rights, and it is working to expand the accessibility and affordability of vaccines, he added.
Luhut said that with the help of China, Indonesia has effectively responded to the pandemic. This has provided a powerful guarantee for the high-level, pragmatic cooperation between the two countries and becomes a new highlight in shoring up Indonesia-China unity and cooperation, he added.
Also on Saturday, China and Indonesia jointly announced the launch of the Spring Sprout COVID-19 inoculation initiative for Chinese citizens in Indonesia, marking major progress in East Asian vaccine cooperation.
The initiative, which began this year, works to help Chinese citizens living overseas to be inoculated with Chinese vaccines.
To take stock of the readiness and specific vaccination needs of Chinese nationals in Indonesia, the Chinese embassy in Jakarta developed an online questionnaire.
Jakarta is willing to cooperate with Beijing in implementing the initiative, Luhut said on Saturday.
China continues to be Indonesia's largest trading partner and second-largest source of foreign investment.
Last year, their bilateral trade volume reached $78.37 billion, and China's imports from Indonesia increased by 10.13 percent year-on-year.
In addition to vaccine and health cooperation, Beijing and Jakarta also agreed on Saturday to upgrade teamwork on building the Belt and Road, work for an early completion of the regional comprehensive economic corridor and support Indonesia's gearing up of its infrastructure buildup.
The two sides signed a new memorandum of understanding on maritime cooperation on Saturday, agreeing to embark on fishery cooperation and support a series of high-quality programs.
They also agreed to speed up consultations on the expected text of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and to ensure that cooperation prevails in the South China Sea.
ASEAN envoys to gather
In another development, Wang will have two meetings with visiting senior Southeast Asian diplomats in Chongqing on Monday and Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Sunday.
The first special gathering of foreign ministers from China and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the start of the China-ASEAN dialogue partnership.
The other gathering will bring together dignitaries from China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for the sixth foreign ministers meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism.
The six countries share the river, known as the Lancang River in China and the Mekong River in the other five countries that it flows through.