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May 19, 2021 / 18:03

China commits fair vaccine allocation for ASEAN

China has attempted to win hearts and minds in Southeast Asia during the coronavirus pandemic through “vaccine diplomacy.”

China has pledged to supply Covid-19 vaccine to ASEAN member states in a fair manner at the 27th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation (ACSOC) held via video link on May 18.

 Officials from Cambodia's Ministry of Information are inoculated with China's Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine in Phnom Penh on April 1, 2021. Photo: AFP Photo

The commitment was made at the annual event with the participation of Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao, and senior foreign officials of other ASEAN countries.

At the meeting, the Chinese diplomat said Beijing will cooperate with ASEAN member states in realizing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

ASEAN-China posted a growth of 32.9% in trade turnover in 2020 despite Covid-19. Trade with ASEAN accounts for 15% of China’s total trading values.

The two sides pledged to continue cooperation in containing the pandemic and developing economy with a focus on trading via the ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) that came into effect in January 2010.

China has attempted to win hearts and minds in Southeast Asia during the coronavirus pandemic through “vaccine diplomacy”, Nikkei Asia reported, adding that China’s vaccine diplomacy fails to win ASEAN support.

 A survey on ASEAN people's sentiment toward powers. Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

Regional issues of cooperation

Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of Vietnam’s ASEAN SOM, has suggested ASEAN and China prioritize coordination in fighting Covid-19 and promoting sustainable recovery.

In his remarks on behalf of ASEAN at ACSOC, Dung said the two sides have made efforts to maintain and promote their cooperation momentum, thus reaping significant achievements over the past time, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He proposed the ten-member grouping and China work together so as to effectively cope with emerging challenges.

 Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung at the meeting on May 18. Photo: MoFA

Dung emphasized the significance of boosting trade and investment, cooperating in sub-regional development and narrowing development gaps via mechanisms, including the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation.

He expressed his hope that the sides will actively contribute to ensuring an environment of peace, security, stability and rule of law, exercise self-restraint and settle disputes and differences peacefully.

Dung proposed ASEAN and China continue their close coordination to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and strive to build an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

ASEAN and China agreed to soon resume negotiations disrupted by Covid-19 to soon reach the COC.