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Taiwan welcomes U.S. vaccine aid, bolstering its COVID fight

Stock MarketsJun 21, 2021 04:27AM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A forklift is used to transport Moderna vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Taiwan Air cargo Terminal in Taoyuan, Taiwan, June 18, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang 2/3

By Ann Wang

TAOYUAN, Taiwan (Reuters) - Taiwan welcomed 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the United States on Sunday as help from a true friend, more than doubling the major semiconductor-producing island's arsenal of shots as it deals with a cluster of domestic infections.

Washington, competing with Beijing to deepen geopolitical clout through "vaccine diplomacy," initially had promised to donate 750,000 doses but increased that number as President Joe Biden's administration advances its pledge to send 80 million U.S.-made shots around the world.

A China Airlines Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777 freighter carrying the vaccines landed at Taoyuan airport outside of Taipei late afternoon, greeted on the tarmac by Health Minister Chen Shih-chung and the top U.S. diplomat in Taiwan, Brent Christensen.

Speaking from her office in comments broadcast after the arrival of the Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) Inc shots, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her "sincere gratitude".

"A friend in need is a friend indeed," she added, switching into English.

The American Institute in Taiwan - the de facto U.S. embassy - said the donation reflected the U.S. commitment to Taiwan "as a trusted friend and an important security partner".

"As President Biden has said, 'we will not use our vaccines to secure favours from other countries,'" it said in a statement. "Instead, 'we'll share these vaccines in service of ending the pandemic everywhere.'"

Taiwanese politicians from across the political spectrum also thanked the United States, including the main opposition party, the Kuomintang, which has hammered Tsai for what it says is slow procurement of vaccines.

The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is its most important international backer, to China's anger.

"We urge the U.S. side not to seek political manipulation in the name of vaccine assistance and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson at China's foreign ministry.

The newly arrived 2.5 million doses will more than double the number of vaccines that have come to the island, including 1.24 million AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) Plc shots donated by Japan this month.

China, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, has offered Chinese-made vaccines, but the government in Taipei has repeatedly expressed concerns about their safety and efficacy.

Despite the pandemic, China has continued to pressure Taiwan militarily, seeking to assert its sovereignty.

Last week, 28 Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone, the largest reported incursion to date.

Taiwan is trying to speed up the arrival of the millions of vaccines it has on order as it deals with a rise in domestic cases, although infections remain comparatively low and have stabilised.

Only around 6% of Taiwan's 23.5 million people have received at least one of the two-shot coronavirus vaccine regimen.

Taiwan welcomes U.S. vaccine aid, bolstering its COVID fight
 

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Comments (6)
Jack Zhang
Jack_A Jun 20, 2021 11:27PM ET
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a friend?! LoL
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:20PM ET
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Step 1: Test everybody for COVID-19. Step 2: Attribute every de.ath of people who test positive for COVID-19 as having di.ed form COVID-19. Step 3: Fearmonger and give government more power. People with one or more functioning brain cells see the sc.am as politicians and the media try their best to drag this on. COVID-19 is the only pandemic that has needed its own marketing and PR department to remind people daily it even exists. And to be clear, COVID-19 is real, but the fearmongering is related to statistical manipulation/deception and political motivation. There is a reason that the demographics of people who di.e from COVID-19 are identical to the demographics of people who di.ed before COVID-19 and the overall population mortality rate of the globe has been unchanged.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:20PM ET
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Also of note, mass vaccinating the population including low risk individuals with experimental vaccines has been very helpful at accelerating the formation of resistant mutant variants. They are even admitting - under their breath - that the vaccines people are getting are not even expected to last a year.
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 4:20PM ET
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Also of note, mass vaccinating the population including low risk individuals with experimental vaccines has been very helpful at accelerating the formation of resistant mutant variants. They are even admitting - under their breath - that the vaccines people are getting are not even expected to last a year.
king michael
king michael Jun 20, 2021 11:32AM ET
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How soon will those vaccines to be expired? US should treat people in our colony better.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:12AM ET
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S/t/u/p/id china bots. When u dont have enough resources, u vaccine the weakest. Then u dont have to close the country. When u have enough, then all get vaccine at will.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:05AM ET
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Just vaccinate the old, weakest people. For The healthy people, dealth rate is lower than flu.
David David
David9 Jun 20, 2021 2:05AM ET
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No... that is a Trump mentality... which doesn't work...
Mase Gumbo
Mase Gumbo Jun 20, 2021 2:05AM ET
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kaveh here is a constant trump *****kisser
Edward Lewis
Edward Lewis Jun 20, 2021 2:05AM ET
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David David  Actually it does work, assuming the vaccines actually work....as we have seen with every other vaccine in human history. The only reason it would not work is if the vaccines are not as effective as they say and/or the way they are counting dea.ths is false (both of which are likely true). The fact that you talking about "Trump" shows that vaccines are a political issue to you, and not science, so it makes sense why you are susceptible to political propaganda and promoting mass vaccination of the population despite countless cardiac adverse events and formation of resistant variants.
David David
David9 Jun 19, 2021 10:51PM ET
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Brah.... 2.5m is nothing to celebrate, it won't help much...
 
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