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China isolating Taiwan in int'l arena, sabotaging COVID vaccine purchasing efforts: Taiwanese govt

News Agencies | Updated on: 31 May 2021, 21:23 IST

Taiwan on Monday said China continues to sabotage the island's COVID-19 vaccines purchasing efforts and isolate Taipei in the international arena.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council's (MAC) remarks come after the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed Taiwan's plan to achieve independence through the COVID-19 vaccine "will not succeed".

The MAC refuted Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian's comments by saying that China's attempts to hinder third-party vaccine assistance are "deplorable" and it also allows Taiwanese to see Beijing's true face, Taiwan News reported.

China has continued to isolate Taiwan in the international arena, such as blocking the nation's participation in the World Health Assembly, the MAC said.

It added that Beijing has also been interfering with Taiwan's attempts to acquire Germany's BioNTech vaccines. A contract with the German biotech company was cancelled after it insisted Taiwan remove "country" from a press release announcing the agreement.

Responding to the reports that Japan is holding talks with AstraZeneca to allow it to send its surplus coronavirus vaccines to Taiwan, Zhao said "channels for Taiwan to receive vaccines from China are not blocked". He then warned that Taiwan's "scheme to achieve independence through vaccines will not succeed," Taiwan News reported.

Japan said on Friday it would consider sharing its COVID-19 vaccines with other countries as a ruling party committee urged it to provide a portion of its AstraZeneca PLC vaccine stock to Taiwan.

This comes as Taiwan faces an urgent need to secure vaccines as it witnessed a dramatic surge in cases.

Japan, which has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, is apparently looking into providing the vaccine through private companies and organisations to avoid drawing China's ire, Kyodo News reported citing Japanese officials.

Recently, Taiwan directly accused China of blocking a deal with German firm BioNTech for COVID-19 vaccines.

"Taiwan was close to sealing the deal with the German plant, but because of China's intervention, we still cannot sign the contract," the island's President Tsai Ing-wen said in a meeting of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.


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First published: 31 May 2021, 21:23 IST