TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Tuesday (March 16) denied reports that Taiwan is transferring its own vaccines to diplomatic ally Paraguay, labeling the rumor as fake news.
Taiwanese media recently reported that Taiwan had agreed to transfer the 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine it acquired from the U.S. to Paraguay to help the South American country control its COVID-19 situation.
MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) refuted this on Tuesday. In a statement, she noted that Paraguay is facing a public health crisis because it is unable to obtain enough vaccines for its people.
“Based on the friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay, and under the existing bilateral cooperation framework, Taiwan is assisting Paraguay to negotiate and obtain vaccines through different channels,” she clarified. Ou stressed that this assistance has nothing to do with Taiwan's AZ vaccines.
Meanwhile, a foreign news report claimed Paraguay is negotiating the purchase of Chinese vaccines. Ou explained that the Paraguayan government is seeking to acquire vaccines produced in a variety of countries, with ones made in China being a possible option.
Though the COVAX initiative promised to provide Paraguay’s first batch of 300,000 vaccine doses, the arrival date has not yet been confirmed, Ou said.
According to a MOFA press release on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) noted that Paraguayan Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo had said in a media interview that negotiating for Chinese vaccines will not affect diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
He highlighted Paraguay and Taiwan’s “solid friendship” and said the two countries have cooperated closely in various fields for a long time. “Taiwan will continue to uphold the spirit of helping those in the same boat and try its best to assist all countries in fighting the epidemic together to the best of its ability,” he said.