Announcement by visiting US Vice President Harris comes as Vietnam Premier Chinh stresses independent foreign policy
ANKARA (AA) – The US is supplying another 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, the US vice president said on Wednesday.
On an official visit to the Southeast Asian nation, Kamala Harris met Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh early Wednesday, the US Embassy in Hanoi said in a statement.
The US has already sent around 5 million vaccine doses to Vietnam – making it the largest donor by far – as the country faces an intense wave of coronavirus.
“We are confident that these life-saving vaccine doses will contribute to Vietnam’s fight against COVID-19. Together, we will defeat COVID-19,” the embassy said.
South China Sea dispute
Washington’s vaccine diplomacy comes after Chinh told Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo on Tuesday that Vietnam “does not ally with one country to fight against another.”
Chinh said his nation “consistently pursues the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multi-lateralization, and diversification of ties, proactive and active international integration, and being a responsible member of the international community.”
China has also supplied around 700,000 vaccine shots to Vietnam, which has reported 369,267 COVID-19 cases, including 9,014 deaths, with Ho Chi Minh – its business hub – the worst hit.
Beijing will donate an additional 2 million vaccine doses to its southern neighbor.
The Vietnamese premier also called for “maintaining peace and stability, and settling disagreements at sea in the spirit of high-level common perceptions.”
Vietnam is one of the nations in dispute with China over the South China Sea, and Harris’ visit – the first ever by a sitting US vice president – is intended to bolster bilateral ties and offer more US support in this dispute.
The Chinese ambassador said Beijing “wants to well control disagreements and satisfactorily settle issues at sea with Vietnam in line with high-level mutual understanding.”