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China’s COVID-19 Vaccine Donations Align Suspiciously Close to Beijing’s Geopolitical Priorities in the Global South

The latest tracking data of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine sales and donations around the world by the Beijing-based consulting firm Bridge reveal an interesting distribution around the world that appear to align closely with China’s broader geopolitical priorities.

  1. ASEAN: Distribution to most countries in a region that is now widely seen as the primary front in the showdown with the United States for influence.
  2. PERSIAN GULF: Distribution to most countries in a region that is now among China’s top three sources of oil.
  3. THE AMERICAS: Almost all of South America has acquired Chinese vaccines, which shouldn’t be a surprise given China’s growing dependence on food, oil, and commodities from the Americas.

While there are a lot of headlines and media buzz about China’s vaccine donations to Africa, the reality is that the actual quantity of vaccines distributed on the continent is rather sparse compared to other more geopolitically vital regions.

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