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Depoliticized vaccine supply a must, Thailand tells world leaders

DHL Express delivers US donation of 1.5m Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine doses to Thailand
DHL Express delivers US donation of 1.5m Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine doses to Thailand July 29.

Thailand’s foreign minister appealed to the global community not to politicize vaccine availability due to existing income gaps and unequal access.

In a virtually delivered keynote speech at the opening session of the two-day 2021 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Asian Conference, Minister Don Pramudwinai reiterated that the Covid-19 pandemic has now become the world’s most formidable challenge on top of existing security issues such as extremism, xenophobia, irregular migration, climate change and disruptive technology.

For the past two decades, Thailand has been engaging with the OSCE and learning from this unique organization based in Warsaw, Poland. Thailand is the only ASEAN member to be associated with the OSCE. Afghanistan, Australia, Japan and South Korea are other Asia-Pacific partners.

Addressing the conference’s theme, “Common Responses to Emerging Challenges in Advancing Comprehensive Security”, Don said that the coronavirus has changed the course of global public health and also tested the dynamics of the global geostrategic equation.

In addition, it has highlighted entrenched inequalities within and between nations and has laid bare the vulnerability and fragility of humankind.

“The pandemic has shaken to the core the foundations of our economies and societies, and recovery is an arduous task,” he said.

“We must all ponder how we can craft common responses to advancing comprehensive health security, as well as economic and social revival in these especially trying times.”

The OSCE is a forum for political dialogue on a wide range of security issues, and a platform for joint action to improve the lives of individuals and communities. The organization uses a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects.

In outlining Thailand’s approach during the pandemic, Don said the country put people front and center as a pillar of any comprehensive security response.

“We seek to effectively contain the pandemic as well as to shore up international and regional cooperation to bring about a post-pandemic economic and social recovery,” Don said, adding, “we must do all that we can to share vaccines; to restore disrupted supply chains, and to ensure that the benefits of digital transformation and technological advancement are shared.”

In addition, he said, after the pandemic, economic recovery will depend on a conducive environment of peace, stability and trust. “Political dialogues are key to conflict prevention and resolution,” he said, adding that for the sake of our future generations, the planet needs more constructive interaction and engagement among all its residents.