Former US defense secy asks Biden to donate vaccines to Taiwan amid China's pressure

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Former US assistant secretary of defense Randall G. Schriver (On the left)
Former US assistant secretary of defense Randall G. Schriver (On the left)

Washington DC [US], June 3 (ANI): Amid China's pressure to block access to the Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, former US assistant secretary of defense has said Biden administration's plan to donate COVID-19 vaccine doses worldwide should include Taiwan.

This comes as Washington announced in May that 80 million vaccine doses would be shipped abroad by the end of June to aid the international community amid the pandemic.

Making a case for Taiwan, former assistant secretary of defense Randall G. Schriver said that Taiwan merits special consideration, as a responsibility of the United States under the Taiwan Relations Act.

In a statement, he also said Taiwan faces a uniquely difficult political obstacle as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is jeopardizing Taiwan's public health for its authoritarian political objectives.

"The CCP has aggressively sought to thwart Taiwan's vaccine efforts. From late-stage meddling of vaccine purchasing contracts to condemnation of allies' offers of assistance, it is likely these efforts will continue as Taiwan pursues avenues to secure vaccine support."

According to Schriver, Taiwan is critically vulnerable to an outbreak and its population density is highly susceptible to rapid transmission of COVID-19.

"This is exacerbated by Taiwan's lack of access to the World Health Organization and other lifelines of international support due to CCP coercion. This could be a window of opportunity to vaccinate the public before the disease gets a foothold," he added.

Meanwhile, Taiwan on Monday had said China continues to sabotage the island's plan to procure COVID-19 vaccines.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) made these remarks after the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed that Taiwan plans to achieve independence through the COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

The MAC further stated that 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.

Last week, Japan had said 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. (ANI)