US sends Taiwan 2.5 million vaccine doses, tripling pledge

Jun 19, 2021, 8:55 AM | Updated: Jun 20, 2021, 5:48 pm

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The U.S. sent 2.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan on Sunday, tripling an earlier pledge in a donation with both public health and geopolitical meaning.

The shipment arrived on a China Airlines cargo plane that had left Memphis the previous day. Health Minister Chen Shih-chung and Brent Christensen, the top U.S. official in Taiwan, were among those who welcomed the plane on the tarmac at the airport outside of the capital, Taipei.

Chen said that America was showing its friendship as Taiwan faces its most severe outbreak. “When I saw these vaccines coming down the plane, I was really touched,” he said over the noise inside a building where the boxes of vaccines, some with U.S. flags on them, had been brought on wheeled dollies.

Taiwan, which had been relatively unscathed by the virus, has been caught off guard by a surge in new cases since May and is now scrambling to get vaccines. The COVID-19 death toll on the island of 24 million people has jumped to 549, from only about a dozen prior to the outbreak.

The U.S. donation also signals its support for Taiwan in the face of growing pressure from China, which claims the self-governing island off its east coast as its territory. The U.S. does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan under what is known as the one-China policy, but is legally bound by its own laws to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself.

“These vaccines are proof of America’s commitment to Taiwan,” said Christensen, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. Embassy. “Taiwan is a family member to the world’s democratic countries.”

The U.S. promised 750,000 vaccine doses for Taiwan earlier this month, sending Sen. Tammy Duckworth and two of her Senate colleagues to the island aboard a military transport plane to make the announcement. Taiwan has ordered 5.05 million doses directly from Moderna but so far received only 390,000, including a second shipment that arrived Friday.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said the U.S. had decided to increase the donation through efforts on both sides over the past two weeks.

In a Facebook post, Tsai joined the U.S. in drawing attention to their shared democratic systems. China, which has been ruled single-handedly by the Communist Party since 1949, says Taiwan must eventually come under its control and reserves the right to use force if necessary.

“Whether it is for regional peace and stability or the virus that is a common human adversary, we will continue to uphold common ideas and work together,” Tsai wrote in Chinese.

She has accused China of blocking Taiwan from getting the Pfizer vaccine through BioNTech, the German co-developer. Chinese officials have repeatedly denied the charge, and say China is willing to provide vaccines to Taiwan. Taiwanese law, however, bans the import of Chinese-made medicine.

The U.S. donation follows Japan’s shipment of 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in early June. Taiwan has ordered 10 million doses from AstraZeneca but has yet to receive most of them.

The outbreak, which has eased somewhat, has spurred the government to try to expand testing and vaccination. Health authorities on Sunday reported 107 new locally spread cases, the lowest in more than two months.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

6 hurt when bull escapes Northern California rodeo arena

REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Several people were injured when a bull jumped a fence and escaped an arena during a popular Northern California rodeo, authorities said. The escape occurred Friday during the final section of the Redding Rodeo’s bull riding event, the Redding Rodeo Association said on Facebook. The bull leapt over a fence then […]
16 hours ago
FILE - In this Tuesday, June 11, 2019 file photo, Christa Brown, of Denver, Colo., speaks during a ...
Associated Press

Report: Top Southern Baptists stonewalled sex abuse victims

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, stonewalled and denigrated survivors of clergy sex abuse over almost two decades while seeking to protect their own reputations, according to a scathing 288-page investigative report issued Sunday. These survivors, and other concerned Southern Baptists, repeatedly shared allegations with the SBC’s Executive Committee, “only to […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Pool noodle fight over the name Josh again attracts hundreds

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A couple hundred people grabbed their pool noodles and headed to a Nebraska park again this weekend to battle over the right to the name Josh. The event started as an online joke when Josh Swain from Tucson, Arizona, sent out a tweet challenging anyone who shared his name to fight […]
16 hours ago
This image released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, Benedict W...
Associated Press

‘Doctor Strange’ remains atop box office as ‘Top Gun’ looms

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Doctor Strange and his multiverse got to linger a little longer atop the weekend box office as Tom Cruise and “Top Gun” wait in the wings. Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” was the top-earning film of the weekend for the third straight week, bringing in $31.6 million in […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Creator of ‘Star Wars’ X-wing and Death Star dies at 90

Colin Cantwell, the man who designed the spacecraft in the “Star Wars” films, has died. He was 90. The Hollywood Reporter reported Sunday that Sierra Dall, Cantwell’s partner, confirmed that he died at his home in Colorado on Saturday. Cantwell designed the prototypes for the X-wing Starfighter, TIE fighter and Death Star. He also worked […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

No charges for deputy who killed man at North Dakota school

MOTT, N.D. (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy will not be charged for killing a man inside a small North Dakota public school after the man refused orders to leave the building and fought with the deputy. The Hettinger County sheriff said prosecutors declined to file charges against the deputy after the North Dakota Bureau of […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
US sends Taiwan 2.5 million vaccine doses, tripling pledge