Vietnam to Vaccinate Chinese Nationals ‘Soon’ After Complaints

Vietnam is revamping the way it distributes vaccines donated by Beijing after China complained the Southeast Asian nation was failing to honor an earlier agreement.

China’s embassy in Hanoi said in a statement Friday that Vietnam agreed to give Chinese nationals coronavirus vaccines it donated “as soon as possible.”

China had complained Vietnam was failing to honor promises about how its donated vaccines would be used. “According to the bilateral consensus, the Vietnamese government promised multiple times that vaccines donated by China will be prioritized for Chinese nationals, Vietnamese who need to travel to China for work and people living in the border areas,” an unnamed official at the Chinese embassy said in a statement Thursday.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China has been using exports of its vaccines to Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East as a way to bolster its international standing, a move that comes as Western nations criticize its policies in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Vietnam received 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China on June 20, according to Hanoi’s Ministry of Health.

Japan said Friday it would soon donate an additional 1 million doses of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine to Vietnam, on top of the 1 million doses it has already sent.

Chinese net users have been expressing anger about Vietnam’s distribution of shots on the Twitter-like Weibo service. “Vietnam hasn’t honored its commitment prioritizing Chinese” was the most searched topic on Friday, with more than 230 million views at around 11 a.m.

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