Indonesia offers to become vaccine hub for Southeast Asia : FM

Indonesia offers to become vaccine hub for Southeast Asia : FM

(From left to right) — SOEs Minister Erick Thohir, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, and Trade Minister M Lutfi. (ANTARA/HO-KBRI Beijing)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - During a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in WuYi, Fujian province, China, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi submitted a proposal for turning Indonesia into a vaccine hub for Southeast Asia, as part of long-term vaccine cooperation.

"This idea is still in its early stage, but what we are proposing includes cooperation to strengthen vaccine development research, develop raw material industries, and increase national vaccine production capacity," she said during a press conference held from China on Friday.

The idea was discussed with Wang Yi during talks on strengthening vaccine partnership, both in the long and short term, she informed.

The two countries will hold further discussions on long-term vaccine cooperation, but in principle, China has expressed its support for the Indonesian initiative, she said.

During the meeting, Indonesia also expressed the hope that, in the short term, the Chinese government would continue to provide support so that the delivery of vaccines, which has become a binding commitment, can be carried out according to the agreed schedule, she added.

"We also discussed the issue of strengthening vaccine cooperation directly with vaccine producers in China," said Marsudi.

The discussion comes at a time when vaccine producing countries have imposed export restrictions and bans on the grounds of meeting domestic needs, as several countries are facing a spike in cases.

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The restrictions are affecting the supply chain rate of vaccine supply to the world, Marsudi noted and expressed her concern over the impact of the vaccine supply slowdown amid the fight against the pandemic and economic recovery efforts.

"Therefore, as one of the co-chairs of the COVAX AMC Engagement Group, I have a moral responsibility to continue to call for cooperation so that equal access to vaccines for all countries can be realized," she remarked.

Marsudi paid a visit to Fujian province, China with Minister of State-owned Enterprises, Erick Thohir, and Minister of Trade, Muhammad Lutfi.

On Friday, the three ministers held about 14 meetings on various issues, including vaccine cooperation, increased trade and investment activities, as well as consular cooperation, particularly for efforts to strengthen protection for Indonesian sea vessel crew members. (INE)

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