Oct. 14 (EIRNS)—Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s ongoing Southeast Asia tour is not only gaining support throughout the region against U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s crass threats for ASEAN nations to cut ties with China, but is also signing new agreements for cooperation, especially in combatting Covid-19 and developing vaccines. Pompeo placed phone calls to every one of the ten ASEAN foreign ministers during July and August, demanding they cut off cooperation with China companies Huawei and ZTE, stop Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, and work with the U.S. military in confronting China in the South China Sea. He also falsely reported the results of the Quad meeting—U.S., Australia, Japan, India—in Tokyo this month, claiming that the other three were on board with his anti-China rampage.
Wang Yi met with Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin in Yunnan over the weekend, before beginning his tour. With Indonesia, Luhut delivered a letter from President Joko Widodo to Xi Jinping, who spoke by phone earlier confirming cooperation in the BRI and other fields. Luhut visited three major Chinese pharmaceutical firms, arranging both for the delivery of millions of doses of vaccines beginning in November, and to help make Indonesia a hub for pharmaceutical production.
With Locsin, Wang Yi made clear that China is “seeking a development path that is completely different from the one with traditional powers in the West. Our right to development should not be deprived by other forces.” The two agreed to continue plans for joint China-Philippine development of the resources in contested areas of the South China Sea, and to continue infrastructure projects. Pompeo had demanded that a Chinese company which is building a new airport in the Philippines, but which had been sanctioned by the U.S. for building islands in the South China Sea, be stopped—President Rodrigo Duterte responded that the Philippines is no longer a colony of the U.S. Duterte has also arranged for COVID vaccines to be purchased from China and Russia.
In Malaysia, Wang Yi arranged to purchase 1.7 million tons of Malaysian palm oil—Western greenies have organized a boycott of Malay and Indonesia palm oil for imagined environmentalist damage. Malaysia also arranged for cooperation on vaccines. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told Wang Yi, that Malaysia was part of the World Health Organization COVAX plan, but that participants had to “fork out a large amount of money before we can get a vaccine for our use.”
In Singapore, Wang Yi and the island’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan pledged “cooperation in COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics,” and continued cooperation in “Three Government-to-Government Projects,” part of the BRI on land, sea and trade connectivity.
In Cambodia, Wang Yi witnessed the signing of the first free-trade agreement between the two nations, which will eliminate tariffs on 98% of Cambodia’s exports to China (340 products) and 90% of Chinese imports. Cambodia exports are expected to increase by 20%.
Wang Yi will be in Thailand on Oct. 15, where he is expected to sign a contract for the 252 km high-speed rail from Bangkok to Korat, which eventually will connect to Laos and the Laos-Kunming rail line which will be completed next year. The Korat rail project has been stalled for a few years, but it is ready to go, and Thailand just bought $380 million in Chinese-made bullet trains and tracks.