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Beijing urges Taipei to refrain from political manipulation and allow Taiwanese people access to Chinese Covid-19 vaccines

Beijing urges Taipei to refrain from political manipulation and allow Taiwanese people access to Chinese Covid-19 vaccines
The Chinese foreign ministry has called on Taipei to accept Beijing’s offer of vaccine assistance and let the people of Taiwan receive Chinese Covid-19 shots as the island faces a domestic spike in infections.

Speaking on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reiterated the blood bond between mainland China and those living on the island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers an integral part of the country. The spokesman said China “empathizes with the severe epidemic faced by Taiwan compatriots” and vowed to continue offering support. 

Wang said that, despite China’s goodwill, the Taiwanese authorities continued to block their help. “The DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] authorities have prevented the mainland from importing vaccines to Taiwan in every possible way, and even falsely claimed that the mainland was obstructing its procurement of vaccines,” he stated.

The spokesman claimed the DPP was engaged in political manipulation and wasn’t accepting China’s assistance because it didn’t conform with their own political self-interest. Wang called on the DPP to work instead for the best outcome for the Taiwanese people. 

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“Pandemic prevention is the most important thing and life is paramount. I would like to urge the Taiwan authorities to put their minds on scientific epidemic prevention, remove man-made political obstacles, and ensure the lives, health, interests, and wellbeing of Taiwan compatriots,” Wang added.

On Friday, despite its own slow vaccination rollout, Japan gifted 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, doubling the island’s vaccine stock, in an effort to alleviate supply challenges and slow down a domestic spike in virus cases. 

Taipei had received only around 860,000 doses before Friday – mainly AstraZeneca shots and some from Moderna. The government has a further 20 million on order and is developing its own domestic vaccine.

Despite pressure from opposition groups, Taipei has refused to accept vaccines from Beijing. In May, a former opposition leader, Hung Hsiu-chu, said, “the real enemy is the virus, not the mainland.”

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