China backs Indonesia to become vaccine hub of SE Asia

China backs Indonesia to become vaccine hub of SE Asia

An employee works on the production line of Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines at the Bio Farma Pharmacy, which will produce the vaccine early next year with a production capacity of 250 million vaccines a year, in Bandung, West Java on Aug 12, 2020. (AFP file photo)
An employee works on the production line of Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines at the Bio Farma Pharmacy, which will produce the vaccine early next year with a production capacity of 250 million vaccines a year, in Bandung, West Java on Aug 12, 2020. (AFP file photo)

China supports Jakarta’s efforts to become the centre for vaccine production in Southeast Asia, Indonesia Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Pandjaitan said after meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Indonesia has the strongest capacity for vaccine production in Southeast Asia, Wang said, according to a statement issued by Pandjaitan after the two held a discussion on Saturday. Wang will support China’s companies to step up cooperation, according to the statement.

Volunteers in Indonesia’s city of Bandung, the capital of West Java province, are already taking part in trials for a vaccine being developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is also working on its own inoculation, called the Merah Putih vaccine, as it seeks to ensure there are enough doses for its 270 million population.

The two ministers discussed developing three industrial zones in Indonesia’s Bintan, Batang and Semarang areas, and the participation of Chinese universities in researching herbal medicine in North Sumatra, according to the statement released Sunday. Pandjaitan also asked Wang Yi for China to share its experience in efforts to eradicate poverty.

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