A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official on Tuesday said China is willing to give priority to the Philippines on COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccine once it is accessible for commercial use.
In a Twitter post, Chinese State-owned CCTV Asia Pacific quoted Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Wang Wenbin as saying that China is willing to give the Philippines access to its vaccine.
Beijing’s assurance came a day after President Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), said: “Four days ago I made a plea to Xi Jinping. Can we be one of the first to have it … or can we buy it?”
Aside from giving priority to Manila on the vaccine, Wang also expressed China’s willingness to work with the Philippines to handle issues in the South China Sea “through friendly consultation and safeguarding peace in the region.”
In his SONA, the President admitted he could not afford to go to war against China concerning the disputes in the South China Sea.
“We have to go to war. And I cannot afford it. Maybe some other president can but I cannot. Inutil ako diyan. Talagang inutil ako diyan. Walang magawa [I’m useless when it comes to that. Really, I’m useless to that. I can’t do anything]. I cannot,” he said.