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

A nun holds her ballot after voting for the abortion referendum at a polling station in San Marino,...
Associated Press

San Marino voters decide whether to decriminalize abortion

ROME (AP) — Voters in San Marino, a tiny republic surrounded by Italy, voted Sunday whether to decriminalize abortion, with the Roman Catholic Church firmly opposed and the “yes” camp hoping to make the procedure legal in some circumstances. The ballot proposal calls for abortion to be made legal in the first 12 weeks of […]
1 day ago
Visitors watch the North Korea side from the Unification Observation Post in Paju, South Korea, nea...
Associated Press

South Korea urges North to restore hotlines for any talks

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Sunday urged North Korea to restore dormant communication hotlines, a day after the North repeated an offer to open conditional talks. The North might be seeking to extract concessions about two weeks after it raised tensions by carrying out its first missile tests in six months. North […]
1 day ago
FILE - This is an undated file photo provided by the Metropolitan Police on Thursday, Sept. 23, 202...
Associated Press

Police make ‘significant’ arrest over London teacher’s death

LONDON (AP) — British police said Sunday they have arrested a man on suspicion of murdering Sabina Nessa, a primary school teacher killed as she walked in a London park. Nessa’s death — as she went to meet a friend a few minutes from her home — has fueled concerns that women aren’t safe on […]
1 day ago
Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union parties candidate foe Chancellery and Minister President ...
Associated Press

The Latest: Laschet: Every vote counts in Germany’s election

The Latest on Germany’s election: ___ BERLIN — Armin Laschet, the candidate of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc to become Germany’s new leader, says the election result “will come down to every vote.” Recent polls point to a very close race between Laschet’s center-right Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats, with the Greens […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Tuesday, March 16, 2004 file photo, a member of the Copenhagen police patrols the en...
Associated Press

Copenhagen’s hippie, psychedelic oasis Christiania turns 50

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — After a half-century, the “flower-power” aura of Copenhagen’s semi-autonomous Christiania neighborhood hasn’t yet wilted. Love-ins with the authorities have hardly been a trademark of the neighborhood. But Christiania’s residents are determined to preserve its reputation as a “free-wheeling society” with hash dealers, political idealists and aging hippies. “It has become more […]
1 day ago
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Ass...
Associated Press

Turkey could buy more Russian missiles despite US warnings

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president has said he would consider buying a second Russian missile system in defiance of strong objections by the United States. In an interview with American broadcaster CBS News, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would have to decide its defense systems on its own. Speaking to correspondent Margaret Brennan in […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
US sends Taiwan 2.5 million vaccine doses, tripling pledge