JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and her counterpart Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a virtual meeting on developing a coronavirus vaccine to contain the spread of Covid-19 on July 30.
“We agreed to increase international collaboration to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, especially in ensuring the supply chain of raw materials for drug production and vaccine development,” Retno said.
It was previously reported that Indonesia’s state-owned pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma and Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech Ltd will begin their final phase of clinical trials on humans next month. It needs 1,620 volunteers to test the vaccines.
Indonesian officials expected the production of 250 million doses will take place in the first quarter of 2021.
The two ministers also touched on the issue of post-pandemic economic recovery, where Retno requested that Indonesia’s access to the Chinese market for its palm oil, swallow’s nest, tropical fruits, and marine products be expanded.
“If we look at BPS [Statistic Indonesia] data in May and June, Indonesia succeeded in increasing its export performance not only to China but also to the United States, India, Japan, and Singapore,” she said.
In this economic recovery program, Retno also wants to maintain a mutually beneficial investment with China as it is Indonesia’s second-largest investor after Singapore.
Besides, the two also discussed the plan to form a travel corridor for essential businesses called business essential travel corridor arrangement, which is expected to be done in the future.
She also told her counterpart about the situation of Indonesian crewmen who were allegedly mistreated when working at some Chinese fishing vessels.
She called on China’s government to immediately carry out a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice following the death of Indonesian crewmen on the fishing vessels, the crewmen who were thrown into the sea, and poor working conditions.
“I also urge China’s government to take legal action on the people who are responsible for these incidents as the Indonesian government has already arrested employment agents who [illegally] recruited the crewmen in Indonesia,” she said.
The Indonesian minister also said that the South China Sea dispute was also discussed and she highlighted Indonesia’s position which is in line with the international sea treaty, UNCLOS 1982.
“All countries in the region have the same interests to maintain a stable, peaceful condition including in the South China Sea,” Retno said.
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