Tokyo [Japan], June 3 (ANI): Japan has decided to supply 1.2 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan, a move that is set to irk China who Taipei has accused of blocking their access to the much-needed vaccine.
Tokyo plans to send the doses of AstraZeneca as early as Friday, NHK World reported. This development comes as Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide had pledged at an online summit to send 30 million vaccine doses overseas.
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 vaccine stock to Taiwan.
Amid China's pressure to block access to the Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, former US assistant secretary of defense on Wednesday had said the 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 "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."
Taiwan is critically vulnerable to an outbreak and its population density is highly susceptible to rapid transmission of COVID-19, Schriver said.
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. (ANI)