China, and five South Asian countries, have opposed the idea of "vaccine nationalism" and politicising the issue of Covid-19 origin while calling for the distribution of vaccines under the principle of equity and justice.
"The foreign ministers agreed that vaccines, as a key weapon to defeat Covid-19, should be distributed following the principle of equity and justice," said foreign ministers of China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh in a joint statement today, a day after a video conference.
The foreign ministers expressed that "vaccine nationalism" will hinder the global efforts to defeat Covid-19, and strengthening cooperation to track virus mutation closely. They stressed that countries should step up solidarity and cooperation to win the final victory over the virus.
They expressed firm support to WHO's due role in the global cooperation against Covid-19 and acknowledged that tracing the origin of the virus is a matter of science and a global mission.
China expressed its readiness to provide continued medical supplies and technical assistance to participating countries of the conference to the best of its ability.
At the event, the foreign ministers agreed to closely follow developments of the Covid-19 situation in India. They expressed willingness to provide needed support through respective channels in consultation with India.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Afghanistan's Acting Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab, Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena held the conference under a new platform led by China.
The initiative was taken first in November last year, and subsequent meetings were held at director-general, foreign secretary, and then foreign minister levels. In a spirit of openness, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation, the six countries welcomed the active participation of other countries in the region.