China Global Podcast

China’s Vaccine Diplomacy with Ivana Karásková

June 08, 2021
Bonnie S. Glaser
Ivana Karásková
1 min read

As the pandemic spread last year, the provision of life-saving supplies – PPE, ventilators, medicines, and eventually, vaccines -- quickly became intensely political. Pandemic response became not only a matter of life and death, but also of global reputation and influence. For China and Russia in particular, the distribution of supplies became a new front for flexing soft power. As early as April 2020, Xi Jinping made his plans known to treat China’s vaccines as global goods. And observers speculate that Beijing is using good will to mask a bigger geopolitical play: to press its interests on controversial issues like Taiwan and Huawei in exchange for desperately needed relief.

What are China’s tactics and goals, and how have they evolved over the course of the pandemic? Will vaccine efficacy affect China’s ability to maneuver? Has Beijing had much luck in providing vaccines in exchange for political favors? Today on China Global, Bonnie Glaser digs deep into Beijing’s approach to vaccine diplomacy with Ivana Karásková, founder of MapInfluenCE and the organization China Observers in Central and Eastern Europe.