Chinese and Indonesian presidents pledge more COVID vaccine cooperation

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indonesian President Joko Widodo held formal talks on Wednesday on the Indonesian island of Bali, with both leaders pledging closer cooperation on the development of COVID-19 vaccines, APA reports citing Reuters.

Xi told Widodo that China will promote joint research and development on vaccines and continue to support Indonesia in building a regional vaccine production centre, according to a readout published by the Chinese foreign ministry.

“Indonesia expresses satisfaction and gratitude for the cooperation between the two sides in the fields of research and development and production of COVID-19 vaccines, and is willing to continue to strengthen cooperation in health care,” the Chinese readout quoted Widodo as saying.

Indonesia has been a major buyer of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines since the start of the pandemic, administering hundreds of millions of doses produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech so far.

In September, Indonesia said it had granted emergency use approval to an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Chinese company, becoming the first country, ahead of even China, to do so.

Right before the talks, Xi and Widodo jointly oversaw a trial of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project, part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and funded by a loan from China Development Bank.

The 142-km (88-mile) line will connect the capital Jakarta with one of the country’s largest cities, Bandung.

The meeting between Xi and Widodo capped off Xi’s flurry of diplomatic activity while at the G20 summit, which marked the Chinese leader’s return to the most influential stages of international politics.

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