By Michael Martina
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US is delivering a further 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan, a senior U.S. administration official advised Reuters, growing to 4 million the whole variety of pictures donated by Washington to the self-ruled island, which is underneath growing stress from China.
The brand new supply of Moderna Inc doses will depart from Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday aboard a flight belonging to Taiwan’s China Airways, the official stated.
“Our vaccines don’t include strings connected” and weren’t donated to “safe favors or extract concessions,” the Biden administration official stated, in an obvious reference to criticism that Beijing is making an attempt to strengthen its geopolitical clout by way of so-called vaccine diplomacy.
The official added that Taiwan was a “very important accomplice” on world well being points.
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The US gave 2.5 million doses to the island claimed by China in June, making it among the many first worldwide recipients of U.S. vaccines.
On the time, U.S. officers stated China was trying to dam vaccine purchases by Taiwan for political causes, which Beijing denied.
Japan, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Lithuania even have donated COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, the place about 70% of the inhabitants has acquired not less than one dose, in keeping with Taiwan media. Solely about 30% of the nation’s 24 million folks have been absolutely vaccinated.
Beneath stress to share its coronavirus vaccine provide with the remainder of the world, the US has donated 200 million doses to greater than 100 nations, the White Home stated earlier in October.
Taiwan, a key hub within the straining world know-how provide chain, grew at its slowest tempo because the second quarter of 2020 within the July-September interval as coronavirus curbs to include a neighborhood outbreak hit consumption.
The US, which like most nations has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, has watched its rising tensions with Beijing with alarm. President Joe Biden’s administration has vowed to spice up ties with the island, which underneath U.S. regulation Washington is required to produce with the technique of protection.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Enhancing by Sonya Hepinstall)