Japan, US Pledge to Donate Billions of Dollars to COVAX to Counter Beijing’s Vaccine Diplomacy

June 6, 2021 Updated: June 8, 2021

Japan and United States have recently pledged to donate more COVID-19 vaccines and funding to developing countries through the COVAX global sharing scheme to counter the Chinese communist regime’s vaccine diplomacy.

At the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) summit on June 2 in Japan, summit chairman Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged that Japan would donate 30 million doses of vaccines produced in Japan to other countries through the COVAX program.

Suga also announced that Japan would donate $800 million—four times its original commitment—to fund free vaccines for low and middle-income countries around the world. Together with its previous donations, Japan has given $1 billion to the program, making it the second largest donor in the world only next to the U.S.’s $2.5 billion.

COVAX is jointly led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The platform aims to deliver 1.8 billion doses of vaccine to 30 percent of the population who live in low and middle-income countries.

New pledges from countries during the summit saw total donations increase to $9.6 billion to procure and deliver vaccines to developing countries. Previously, the European Union has promised to donate 100 million doses of vaccine, and the United States has pledged to donate 80 million doses.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan hold a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C. The two leaders met to discuss issues including human rights, China, supply chain resilience, and other topics on April 16, 2021. (Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

Many China experts have pointed out that the donations from Japan, U.S., and EU are to counter the Chinese regime’s “vaccine diplomacy,” where the Chinese Communist Party provides Chinese-made vaccines to other countries in an effort to secure political influence over recipient countries, Radio of Free Asia (RFA) reported. Japan and the United States are now leading the world’s vaccine aid, calling on other countries to unite and support developing countries in order to contain communist China.

The Chinese regime has sold 683 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccines through bilateral agreements with other countries, which in some cases have enabled the regime to directly pressure and influence the recipient countries, according to RFA.

China joined the COVAX program in October 2020 and promised to provide 10 million doses of Chinese-made vaccine to COVAX in February 2021, which is far less than the vaccines it has exported through bilateral relations. The WHO announced on June 1 that China’s Sinovac vaccine was approved for emergency use, and it would be included in the COVAX procurement list led by the WHO, along with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccines which were approved by the WHO on May 7.

Experts have also pointed out that China prefers to export its vaccines through bilateral relations to better serve the regime’s strategic and economic goals. However, if the vaccines are donated through the WHO and COVAX, it means that the Chinese regime will lose control over where the vaccines go and won’t be the direct benefactor who has an opportunity to influence over others. In contrast, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken emphasized on June 1 that the United States would “work in coordination with COVAX” and “distribute vaccines without political requirements of those receiving them.”

The Chinese regime has been pushing its vaccine diplomacy since last year. Hungary, an EU member and one of the few East European countries that bought the Chinese vaccines in March, has since vetoed EU resolutions to condemn the Chinese regime’s human rights abuses in Hong Kong and against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The regime’s vaccine diplomacy has alarmed the international community.

In late May, the Chinese regime blocked Taiwan from obtaining Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines while pushing Chinese vaccines for the self-ruled island in an attempt to launch vaccine warfare against Taiwan. However, vaccine aid to Taiwan from Japan and the United States has brought an end to the CCP’s scheme. With backing from the United States, Taiwan has been included as a recipient in the COVAX program.

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A medical staff prepares a vaccine against COVID-19 coronavirus at the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on March 22, 2021. (SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan sent 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan on a flight numbered JL809 on June 4, a date regarded as taboo by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 32 years ago—June 4, 1989—the CCP dispatched its military and brutally killed an estimated tens of thousands of unarmed students and citizens who were peacefully demonstrating for freedom and democracy around the ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace.’

The regime has banned any commemoration of the brutal massacre in mainland China since then and in Hong Kong since 2020 on the anniversaries of the massacre. However, in Taiwan, a Chinese society that is not ruled by the CCP, June 4 was commemorated both in official and private activities.

On June 5, Taiwanese lawmaker Wang Ting-yu stated that the CCP treats human life and pandemic prevention as political capital, which he said is cruel and disgusting.

Taiwan June 4
A man lays flowers to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing, during a vigil in front of Liberty Square in Taipei, Taiwan, on June 4, 2021. (SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen posted on Facebook: “On June 4, the vaccine from Japan is arriving in Taiwan. We are grateful for the timely assistance from partners who also uphold the values of freedom and democracy. This gives Taiwan more confidence in democracy.”

She continued: “We will never forget, on this day 32 years ago, the young people who sacrificed their lives in Tiananmen Square, and our friends in Hong Kong who have always commemorated the June 4 Movement by candlelight year after year. I believe all Taiwanese who are proud of freedom and democracy will never forget this day in history, and will firmly stick with their beliefs and will not be shaken by challenges.”