China backs Indonesia’s efforts to become the centre of COVID-19 vaccine production in Southeast Asia, said Indonesia Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Pandjaitan following his meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Following the meet in Yunan, China on October 9 and 10, Pandjaitan said in a statement that Wang has noted that Indonesia has the ‘strongest capacity’ for the mass production of the vaccine in the region. He further added that the Chinese Foreign Minister will back the Chinese first to enhance cooperation.
The statement read, “Wang Yi expressed his commitment to the cooperation of vaccine technology transfer between Indonesia and China. Because, according to him, Indonesia is a country with the strongest vaccine production capacity in Southeast Asia so that it could be an opportunity for Chinese companies.”
China’s support for Jakarta came as volunteers from Bandung, the capital of West Java province have already started taking part in the clinical trials for a potential vaccine for COVID-19 developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Apart from the testing, Southeast Asia’s economic hub is also coming up with its own candidate, reportedly called Merah Putih vaccine while it seeks to ensure that there are enough doses to vaccinate 270 million people.
As per the Indonesian Minister’s statement, he and Wang discussed the development of three industrial zones in Bintan, Batang and Semarang areas along with the participation of Chinese educational institutions to research the herbal medicine in North Sumatra. Pandjaitan also asked the Chinese Foreign Minister to share its experience with eradicating poverty.
Meanwhile, China has officially joined the COVAX initiative led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a bid to provide global access to effective COVID-19 vaccines. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on October 9 hailed it as an “important step” that China has taken to adopt the concept of a shared community of health for all and even to honour its commitment to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe for the “good” of the public.