This research will discuss how Indonesia’s final-stage Sinovac clinical trial results will play a leading role in determining China’s diplomatic power amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper analyzes how vaccine diplomacy will impact China-Indonesia relations: if Sinovac proves inefficacious, Jakarta is unlikely to cut ties with Beijing but may consolidate relations with Washington. However, as the United States faces its own COVID-19 struggles, this paper examines how Beijing can continue to use vaccine diplomacy as leverage to strengthen and expand its influence in South China Sea (SCS) disputes with minimal interference from Washington. Additionally, the paper will evaluate how the reliability of China’s Sinovac vaccine—especially after Beijing’s supply of health care products to Europe were found to be of unsatisfactory quality—will affect the outcomes of vaccine diplomacy, determining whether Beijing can restore its reputation globally in order to facilitate bilateral or multilateral cooperation. Finally, the paper will assess how the outcome of China-Indonesia vaccine diplomacy will help determine China’s opportunities to compete with major Western powers in the global vaccine market in the long-term.
List of Abbreviations
BPOM: Food and Drug Supervisory Agency
BRI: Belt and Road Initiative
HSRI: Health Silk Road Initiative
SCS: South China Sea
WHO: World Health Organization