China on Monday expressed support for waiving intellectual property protections for novel coronavirus vaccines in a bid to help developing nations suffering from the ongoing pandemic.
"China will continue to make a contribution to the fairness and accessibility of vaccines in developing countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.
Zhao's remarks came after the U.S. trade representative said in a statement earlier this month that the administration of President Joe Biden will support the intellectual property waiver "in service of ending this pandemic."
The Biden administration has been facing calls from developing nations to share the technology behind the vaccines to help beef up production, but the pharmaceutical industry has resisted the idea.
Zhao said, "China fully understands and supports the request of developing countries to exempt the intellectual property rights for novel coronavirus vaccines."
China has touted its home-developed coronavirus vaccines as "effective and high-quality," after the World Health Organization earlier this month approved one developed by the nation's state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm.
With backing from the WHO, the Sinopharm vaccine would now be included in a U.N.-backed COVAX facility, an international vaccine distribution platform set up to ensure equitable access to shots for developing countries.
China, where the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, has been active in its "vaccine diplomacy" push, providing its coronavirus vaccines to other Asian nations and African countries, among other areas.