Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China would support a center to produce and distribute Covid-19 vaccines in ASEAN.
|Representatives at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting on August 3. Photo: MoFA|
Wang made the commitment at the online ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting on August 3 that marked the attendance of foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN member states and ASEAN’s Secretary General.
He said China has donated 119 million doses and will continue providing more in addition to essential medical equipment to ASEAN.
Wang said that the relations continue to grow in the pandemic with the launch of the ASEAN-China Health Cooperation Initiative, the ASEAN-China Vaccine Friend Cooperation, and the ASEAN-China Program on Public Health Emergency Preparedness Capacity (PROMPT).
The Chinese minister affirmed that ASEAN plays an important role in China’s neighboring diplomacy and wanted to upgrade the strategic partnership on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-China relations in 2021.
|A person in Vietnam's Quang Ninh Province gets a Vero Cell jab from China's Sinopharm Group. Photo: MoH|
At the meeting, ASEAN ministers thanked China for its support in the pandemic, including US$1 million to the ASEAN Covid-19 Response Fund.
In the first half of this year, ASEAN-China maintained the position of leading trade partner of each other with the two-way trade of $516.9 billion.
The countries agreed to smooth trade in the region to tap the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) and speed up the approval of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to create momentum for the growth.
The two sides also exchanged views on maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea (called East Sea by Vietnam), regarding it as mutual concerns and interests of both. At the event, the ministers highlighted the efforts to resume the negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.
Speaking at the video conference, Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son welcomed the idea to upgrade the ASEAN-China relations and requested related parties to make full use of the countries’ strengths and to facilitate the export from ASEAN countries to China and vice versa.
Efforts to develop infrastructure projects and sub-region cooperation mechanisms, including the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation are much needed, the minister added.
Regarding the South China Sea issues, Son stressed the importance of goodwill cooperation and responsible actions, working together towards building a peaceful, stable, and environmentally friendly sea. The parties need to uphold the rule of law, and resolve disputes and differences through peaceful means, mostly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.