China to Donate 500,000 Coronavirus Vaccine Doses to Philippines

China will donate 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to the Philippines and vowed to accelerate infrastructure investment in the Southeast Asian nation as ties between the two improve.

The pledge was made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday during meetings with Filipino counterpart Teodoro Locsin and President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, according to statements from Duterte’s office and the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs.

“The recovery of nations sits on the back of stronger economies,” Duterte said. “China plays a very key role in reviving our region’s economy. Let us do all we can to revive economic activities between the Philippines and China.”

Wang, who arrived in Manila on Friday, was on a week-long Southeast Asia trip that included stops in Indonesia and Myanmar. The Chinese foreign minister’s visit came amid lingering tensions in the South China Sea and ahead of the leadership change in the U.S.

China also agreed to provide a 500 million yuan ($77 million) grant to finance infrastructure projects among other things, according to the statements.

Philippines Says China Won’t Use Vaccine to Advance Sea Claims

Wang committed to completing China-funded infrastructure projects, saying agreements have been finalized on a $400 million bridge plan that will connect Samal Island to Duterte’s home city Davao, and a $940 million cargo railway project linking Subic Bay freeport zone and Clark airport.

“With our two nations’ abiding interest in regional stability and the security of our maritime commons, it behooves us to show our ability to rise to the challenge of managing differences peacefully and in accordance with law,” Locsin said.

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