Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has wrapped up his whirlwind tour to multiple Southeast Asian Countries Saturday. Fresh off a tour to Africa, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi started his official visit to Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines from January 11, with all the named countries currently struggling with the pandemic.
The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in these countries will be crucial over the coming months, and vaccines developed by China are key.
Before Wang’s visit to Myanmar, a new centre for disease control and medical training, established and set up with the help of China, was launched in Nay Pyi Taw, capital of Myanmar.
Myanmar President U Win Myint expressed his gratitude for China’s support in the battle against the pandemic during his meeting with Wang, and China promised to deliver to Myanmar a batch of COVID-19 vaccines for free.
During the official visit to Indonesia on Wednesday, Wang said China is willing to deepen the cooperation on developing COVID-19 vaccines with Indonesia, and China supports Indonesia’s plan of building up a regional hub for vaccine production.
Wang’s visit came as the country began its mass vaccination program, with Indonesian President Joko Widodo receiving his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac.
In addition, Sinovac sent 15 million doses of raw materials for vaccines to Indonesia on Tuesday.
In the meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, Wang said China fully supports the Philippines in its fight against the pandemic.
Wang said China has decided to provide a batch of vaccines to the Philippines for free and will guide Chinese companies to promote cooperation with the Philippines in vaccine procurement as soon as possible.
Aside from the vaccines, economic recovery remains one of the top goals for both the Chinese and Southeast Asian governments.
During Wang’s visit, he expressed hope in speeding up projects under the Belt & Road Initiative.
China is the second-largest investor in Myanmar, and Wang said China is willing to accelerate the construction of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, which is the flagship project under the initiative.
As for Brunei, Wang called for joint efforts and steady progress in oil refinery and petrochemical projects, as well as the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor, initiated in 2014.
Wang also told President Duterte during their meeting that China will also support the economic recovery of the country.
Wang added that solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons to defeat the pandemic
In addition, China expressed its hopes to cultivate new growth points with these Southeast Asian countries in sectors including 5G, digital economy and artificial intelligence.
Wang’s visits are believed to push ties with these four countries to a higher level and promote peace and stability in the region.