China plays down India’s vaccine diplomacy
China on Monday sought to play down the so-called competitive vaccine diplomacy with India, saying there should be no “rivalry” between countries over supplying anti-Covid shots to other nations.
It is up to each country to decide which Covid-19 vaccine it wishes to use, and there should not be vicious competition or confrontation, Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday.
“On this issue, there should not be vicious competition, and certainly not confrontation,” ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, responding to a Chinese official media representative’s question on whether India was sending millions of doses of vaccines to south Asian countries to rival “China’s vaccine diplomacy”.
“We welcome and hope that more countries can produce safer and more effective vaccines and provide them to more developing countries to benefit more people,” Zhao said.
The pressing task for the international community is to work together to fight the pandemic, Zhao said, adding that Covid-19 vaccines are a global public good, and it’s up to each country to decide which vaccine it will use.
“We have been cooperating with countries specially developing countries in various means and offered our best support to those in need. We continue to promote equitable distribution and application of the vaccines worldwide to benefit more people,” he said.
Chinese state media outlet, Global Times, however, has published stories critical of the vaccines made in India and whether India has the capacity to supply the shots globally.
A recent article in the nationalist tabloid not only raised questions about India’s capacity to manufacture vaccines after the fire at the Serum Institute but also claimed that Indians in China were “embracing” Chinese vaccines.
“Observers and netizens questioned India’s capacity to manufacture and produce high-quality vaccines after a fire ravaged a plant at India’s biggest vaccine maker and caused five deaths on Thursday,” the article said.
“Four days after launching ‘the world’s largest inoculation drive,’ India has already started to export Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in the country to neighbouring countries, triggering concerns over its production capacity, given the pressure of domestic vaccination and global demand,” the tabloid said in an article published last week.
“However, some experts suspect that India is not able to meet domestic demand and fulfil its promises to supply vaccines to the rest of the world in a short period of time,” the article said.
Several countries in Latin America, West Asia and Asia had signed up for doses from China’s vaccine developers by the beginning of the month; state media says 17 countries have purchased Chinese vaccines.
But there have been complaints about slow supply of vaccines from China and not enough information about them.
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