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US ambassador to UN slams China for ‘malign’ vaccine diplomacy

Linda Thomas-Greenfield vows to fight Beijing’s authoritarianism ‘every step of the way’ at UN

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield  (AP photo)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday (June 16) condemned Beijing for pressing Taiwan’s allies with “vaccine diplomacy,” vowing to fight China’s authoritarian approach to multilateralism “every step of the way,” according to reports.

In testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused China of being an “aggressive and coercive" actor by using its power in the UN, as well as its vaccines, to simultaneously threaten and lure other counties, such as Haiti, an ally of Taiwan.

China, with its home-grown coronavirus vaccines, has put “tremendous pressure” on the Caribbean nation to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan, she said. Haiti is suffering from a vaccine shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while Taiwan is currently incapable of giving a hand to its allies, as the nation was struck by its own epidemic just last month.

“We are making every effort to fight against Beijing’s malign influence in the United Nations,” Thomas-Greenfield said. She also urged the U.S. to help Taiwan's allies, as those countries are without the wherewithal and resources to resist the stress being applied by the rising superpower, per Devex.

Joanne Ou (歐江安), spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday afternoon that the ministry agrees with the sentiment of Thomas Greenfield's testimony, which is that the Chinese authorities are using vaccines to carry out international threats.

"Taiwan sincerely thanks the U.S. ambassador for revealing the truth and reiterating U.S. support for Taiwan's participation in the United Nations and specialized agencies."

Ou pointed out that following the Paraguayan vaccine crisis, China has continuously attempted to use vaccines to press countries with urgent needs to exchange political and diplomatic favors.

Ou underscored vaccines are a life-saving matter that should not be used as a tool for political manipulation. "Taiwan strictly opposes any country using vaccines to undermine the ties between Taiwan and its allies," she said.

Updated : 2022-05-26 23:33 GMT+08:00