BEIJING — China is ready to consider “vaccine co-operation” with Central and Eastern European countries, President Xi Jinping said Tuesday in a meeting held by video link with European leaders.
Serbia has received 1 million doses of a Chinese-developed coronavirus vaccine and Hungarian and Chinese vaccine developers are co-operating, Xi said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Beijing will “actively consider such co-operation” with other governments, he was quoted as saying at the Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries.
China has given conditional approval for two vaccines made by two state-owned developers, Sinopharm and Sinovac. They have struck deals to supply millions of doses to Turkey and at least nine other countries.
Beijing is trying to nurture relations with Central and Eastern European governments as part of efforts to expand markets for exports and for Chinese construction and other companies to operate abroad.
The focus on Eastern Europe through the China-CEEC group, also known as “17 plus 1,” has prompted unease among France, Germany and other Western European governments that Beijing is trying to make political inroads into the European Union.
Meanwhile, Xi said China intends to import farm and other goods worth more than $170 billion from Central and Eastern Europe over the next five years, according to Xinhua.
Beijing is trying to develop new trade relationships and reduce reliance on the United States following a tariff war with Washington.
“We need to deepen agricultural co-operation,” Xi said, according to Xinhua.
Xi also expressed support for plans by Fudan University in Shanghai to establish a university in Hungary.
The Associated Press