“In the interconnected world, none of us is safe until all of us are safe,” said the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in April last year.
That sentence has been repeated many times by world leaders, when mentioning cooperation to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, also repeated that statement, at a press conference in Bangkok, when she was asked what the US has to gain from helping Thailand and ASEAN.
“Providing vaccines to other nations, our objective, singly to save lives, with the full knowledge that none of us is safe until all of us are safe,” said Thomas-Greenfield.
The US and China compete on many fronts, if not all. So, when it comes to sending aid to other countries, many ask whether this is also a part of a race, or vaccine diplomacy.
Thomas-Greenfield said the 2.5 million doses of donated vaccines come with no strings attached and are not to secure favour. She said that this is not that kind of race.
The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine donated by the U.S. government arrived in Thailand this morning (Friday), according to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.
Though it is not a race, the US commitment to Thailand makes it the country’s largest COVID-19 vaccine donor, excluding other aid provided.
Others countries helping Thailand with vaccine supplies are Japan, with over 1 million doses, China with 1 million doses, and the UK with 415,000 doses.
When Thomas-Greenfield was first appointed as US ambassador to the UN, CNN reported that she had told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “We know China is working across the UN system to drive an authoritarian agenda that stands in opposition to the founding values of the institution – American values. Their success depends on our continued withdrawal. That will not happen on my watch.”
Today, Thomas-Greenfield also announced that the US will donate another US$5 million in aid, to help Thailand fight COVID-19. This is on top of the US$50 million dollars that will go to international and non-governmental organization partners to “provide emergency food assistance, life-saving protection, shelter, essential health care, water, sanitation and hygiene services to vulnerable people from Myanmar, including more than 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people.”
by Tulip Naksompop Blauw
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