A shipment of inactivated-virus vaccine doses donated to Pakistan landed in Islamabad early on Monday morning. It was China's latest move to honor its commitment to make the COVID-19 vaccine a global public good.
"Vaccine cooperation between China and Pakistan demonstrated not only our mutual assistance as all-weather strategic partners, but also our joint efforts as two developing countries to make vaccines a global public good and promote their accessibility and affordability in fellow developing countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing on Monday.
Pakistan is the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government, but Wang said that China is also providing vaccine assistance to another 13 developing countries, including Brunei, Sri Lanka, Palestine and Zimbabwe.
Wang said that in the next phase, China will continue to provide such assistance to another 38 developing countries in need. It also is participating in the World Health Organization-led global COVID-19 vaccine program COVAX to provide vaccines to more developing countries.
Speaking at the opening of the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly via video link in May, President Xi Jinping announced that COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution in China, when available, will be made a global public good.
"This is what we said, and this is also what we are doing," Wang said, noting that dealing with the virus requires concerted efforts from the international community.
"We hope all parties will take real actions to provide more vaccines to developing countries and contribute to the equitable use and distribution of vaccines globally so that we can defeat the virus at an early date," he said.
At the handover ceremony at the Noor Khan Air Base on Monday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed his gratitude to the people and the government of China for helping Pakistan in its hour of need and making Pakistan the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government.
China has continued to show support for Pakistan since the pandemic started, including sending medical teams. Now, donating vaccines is another testament to the traditional friendship between the two countries, he said.
More and more countries, including Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil, have cast votes of trust in China by having ordered or received Chinese vaccines or given a green light to their emergency use.
Xinhua contributed to this story.