China Insists at UN Security Council, Supporting Africa Now Against COVID Is Our Defense Line
May 20, 2021 (EIRNS)—Speaking as host at a virtual meeting of the UN Security Council on May 19, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the international community to ensure the “accessibility and affordability of vaccines” against COVID in Africa. The event was called “Peace and Security in Africa.” Wang declared: “The international community should give more help in pandemic prevention materials, medical supplies, technology and funds, especially through free assistance, preferential procurement, technology transfer, cooperative production and other means to ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa.” South China Morning Post further quoted Wang as saying: “Africa is an important part of the global anti-pandemic effort. An urgent task now is to build a defense line against the pandemic in Africa ... China calls on all countries with the ability, to provide vaccines to Africa urgently.”
“China welcomes more countries and international organizations, especially Africa’s traditional cooperation partners, to join this initiative, adhering to the principle of ‘Africa-led, equal-footing, and openness,’ strengthening coordination and cooperation, committing to real multilateralism, so as to gather the strong force to support Africa’s development.”
Also speaking at the event, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that, of the 1.4 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered around the world, only 24 million, or less than 2%, had reached Africa. “Equitable and sustainable vaccine roll-out worldwide is the quickest path towards a fast and fair recovery,” Guterres said. “This requires sharing of doses, removing export restrictions, ramping up local production and fully funding the ACT-Accelerator and its Covax Facility.”
Wu Peng, the director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Africa department, told a press conference on the same day that China had provided vaccines to nearly 40 African countries at “favorable prices.” In a not-so-veiled reference to the U.S., Wu compared China’s actions to those of
“some countries that have said they have to wait for their own people to finish the vaccination before they could supply the vaccines to foreign countries. We believe that it is, of course, necessary to ensure that the Chinese people get vaccinated as soon as possible, but for other countries in need, we also try our best to provide vaccine help.”
South China Morning Post reported that the figures from Beijing’s Bridge Consulting show that African nations have ordered about 33 million vaccine doses from China and have been outright donated another 5.45 million by Beijing. China has also donated 10.5 million vaccines to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.