Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said that China remains a benefactor amid brewing tensions in disputed waters and while Manila strives to obtain vaccines, including from Beijing, after its Indian deal faces delays.
“China remains our benefactor,” Duterte said in a taped televised briefing. “Just because we have a conflict with China, doesn’t mean to say that we have to be rude and disrespectful.”
Duterte made the comment after Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin earlier on Monday, using his personal Twitter account, posted an expletive-laced demand for China to remove ships from areas in the disputed South China Sea.
Locsin yesterday apologized to Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) “for hurting his feelings.”
Tensions between the two nations have risen in the past few weeks, with the Philippines repeatedly protesting Chinese ships’ presence, which Beijing has maintained is normal and legitimate.
At a 2016 election debate, Duterte said he would ride a jet ski to the South China Sea to personally stake claims if elected.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccine orders from India might be delayed to September from this quarter or be reduced as infections in the South Asian nation surge, said Carlito Galvez Jr, a retired Philippine Army general who is the nation’s vaccine czar.
A supply deal for 30 million Novavax Inc shots with the Serum Institute of India is the Philippines’ biggest.
Galvez said that his government is negotiating for a monthly delivery of as many as 4 million doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd and 2 million shots of Russia’s Sputnik V.
For the country to achieve herd immunity, 500,000 people must be vaccinated each day, Galvez said.
A long line of people on Sunday snaked across the sand of Miami Beach, Florida, as dozens of travelers from Latin America waited their turn at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination booth. Sweating under the afternoon sun, visitors checked into an online system — no proof of residence required — and soon after received a free, single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a vaccination card. People had come from all over Latin America — Ecuador, El Salvador, Venezuela — where the vaccine rollout has been slow and hampered by supply shortages. “In my country, [COVID-19] is getting out of hand and there’s
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