Taiwan gets COVID-19 jabs from Japan, drawing ire from China

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ANKARA (AA) – China lashed out at Taiwan’s government while simultaneously reiterating its offer to provide COVID-19 vaccines after Japan sent 1.24 million AstraZeneca jabs to the island nation on Friday.

Taiwan, which China claims as a “breakaway province,” is witnessing an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases since mid-May and its overall count has now crossed 10,000.

Authorities reported 474 more infections on Friday, including 133 backlogged cases, bringing the total to 10,446.

Over 9,000 of the infections are domestic cases, according to official data.

The coronavirus death toll in Taiwan stands at 187, with 175 of the fatalities recorded since May 15.

The Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council said Beijing “has expressed a willingness to provide Taiwan island with WHO approved COVID-19 vaccines,” according to state-affiliated daily Global Times.

It said Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “has made a raft of excuses to block vaccine delivery, leading to increasing cases in the island.”

“Is DPP’s political survival more important than Taiwan residents’ lives? Is it more important to foster herd immunity on Taiwan than to play political confrontations with mainland (China)?” the authority said.

Earlier in the day, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry announced that Japan has donated 1.24 million vaccine doses to boost immunization efforts on the island.

“The heartwarming gesture spotlights the special friendship shared by both sides and a joint commitment to combating COVID-19,” the ministry said.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu said the AstraZeneca jabs were “provided free of charge” through the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association.

Commenting on the development, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, advised against “political posturing.”

“China hopes relevant parties will stick to their original intention of saving lives using COVID-19 vaccines and refrain from political posturing,” Wang Wenbin said at a news briefing.

“Despite the mainland’s kindness and willingness to Taiwan residents to use mainland vaccines, DPP obstruction and even lying that the mainland had blocked them from buying shots, reveals their indifference to the needs of Taiwan residents.”