China’s foreign ministry said on Friday the country has formally joined the global COVID-19 vaccine initiative known as COVAX, becoming the biggest economy to date to pledge support to help finance doses for low and middle-income countries.

President Xi Jinping in May owed $2 billion over the next two years to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 1 million lives to date, a ministry did not give details on support of Beijing will provide.

We are taking this solid step to ensure distribution of vaccines to developing countries, and hope more countries will also join and support COVAX, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The COVAX aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021 which is led by the World Health Organization.

It had been negotiating with China to join the country in the initiative with Russia and the United States. The WHO said.

China has ample COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capabilities and will prioritize supplying developing countries when vaccines are ready, Chinese foreign ministry’s Hua said in a statement.

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