The top US diplomat in Taiwan reported on Wednesday that Washington was in no rush to send COVID-19 vaccines to the island, noting that its number of infections remained relatively low, although he said the talks continued on the issue.
After months of relative safety, Taiwan is grappling with a surge in domestic cases of COVID-19, but has only vaccinated about 1% of its more than 23 million people. Read more
Taiwan government says millions more vaccines are on their way and last week the health minister spoke to his US counterpart to ask for help after President Joe Biden announced he would send at least 20 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine overseas by the end of June. . Read more
Brent Christensen, the de facto US ambassador to Taipei, told reporters Taiwan’s handling of the pandemic had impressed everyone around the world.
“We are very confident in the ability of the Taiwan health authorities to contain the latest outbreak,” he said.
“I would also like to point out that many of Taiwan’s neighbors in the region are also experiencing epidemics and the number of infections in Taiwan is still among the lowest in the world,” added Christensen.
Criteria for releasing US vaccines were still under development, but included the level of infection, the capacity of the health system and the level of vaccination, he said.
“We know that Taiwan’s own vaccines will be available in the coming months and I can assure everyone that we are engaging with Taiwan at all levels. “
Like most countries, the United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, claimed by China, but is its strongest support on the world stage and a major source of weapons.
China offered Taiwan vaccines, but the government rejected the idea, saying Beijing had failed to provide adequate information about its vaccines and in any case tried to block Taiwan’s access to vaccines at the level. international. Read more
Taiwan has ordered more than 20 million vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) and Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and has developed its own vaccines. So far, just over 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have arrived.
The Chinese Taiwan Affairs Bureau said Taiwan was using “many different excuses” to prevent its people from getting vaccinated in China.
“This is the biggest political obstacle for fellow Taiwanese to extricate themselves from the epidemic as quickly as possible,” spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian told reporters in Beijing.
Referring to China, Christensen recently said the threats against Taiwan had seemed relentless and pulled out a pineapple to place on his desk, a reference to Beijing’s February decision to ban imports from the island. of the fruit.
“I think we can all remember a recent example of Taiwan demonstrating its resolve and unity in the face of bullying. The bullying quickly backfired. “
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