TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Beijing continues to sabotage the nation’s vaccine purchasing efforts, during a spike in local COVID-19 cases.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) recently said that channels for Taiwan to obtain jabs from China are "not blocked," adding that seeking independence through vaccines will not succeed.
MAC refuted Zhao’s comments by saying that China’s attempts to hinder third-party vaccine assistance are “deplorable” and it also allows Taiwanese to see Beijing’s true face, Liberty Times reported. China has also continued to isolate Taiwan in the international arena, such as blocking the nation’s participation in the World Health Assembly, the MAC said.
It added that Beijing has also been interfering with Taiwan’s attempts to acquire Germany’s BioNTech vaccines. A contract with the German biotech company was nixed after it insisted Taiwan remove "country" from a press release announcing the agreement.
MAC said: “Life is of the utmost importance. We call on the other side to respect itself and stop attaching political goals to the vaccine issue.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Wang Mei-hui (王美惠) blasted Beijing’s behavior by saying, "China is the most shameless country in the world.” While China says it wants to donate vaccines to Taiwan, it continues to suppress jabs from reaching the nation, she added. “If Taiwan can't get vaccines, democratic countries will not recognize (China’s) dehumanizing actions.”
Japan's government is currently in talks with AstraZeneca to send surplus vaccines to Taiwan.