Page Nav


Gradient Skin



Responsive Ad

Taiwan sees 'political warfare' in dispute with China over vaccines

Berita 24 English - Taiwan does not believe China is sincere in offering it critical COVID-19 vaccines and believes it is attempting to keep...

Berita 24 English -
Taiwan does not believe China is sincere in offering it critical COVID-19 vaccines and believes it is attempting to keep the island from receiving shots for political reasons. As infections rise, officials briefed on the matter told Reuters.

China and Taiwan have traded barbs as the world battles the virus, deteriorating ties that were already at a low ebb due to Taiwan's refusal to accept Chinese sovereignty and the United States' increased support for Taipei.

The two have begun a bitter war of words over vaccines, which are desperately needed in Taiwan, where the medical system is strained by new cases. Only about 1% of the population of more than 23 million is vaccinated.

Taiwan claims China has prevented it from obtaining vaccines manufactured by Germany's BioNTech. At the same time, China asserts that it is willing to send a supply of the vaccine via its Chinese sales agent, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd.

On the other hand, Taiwan will not accept the vaccines from Fosun, citing a lack of transparency and China's refusal to provide pertinent information.

According to a senior Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, China did not use an existing channel for discussing medical issues, which was previously used to exchange information on COVID cases to address the vaccine issue.

Rather than offering the vaccines, he claimed, China was waging "political warfare" to "split and weaken" Taiwan.

"They are shouting words as if they truly believe them, but they will not give them to you," he explained.

"There are specific procedures in Taiwan for importing vaccines, and they will know what to do if their intentions are genuine."

The government had been delaying publicizing China's intervention in the BioNTech case for months but had reached a point where it felt compelled to, he added.

"Vaccines are not a matter of politics. However, mainland China is the world's expert at politicizing vaccines."

According to Reuters, a security official investigating Chinese activity in Taiwan said China was "making a concerted effort" to keep Taiwan from receiving vaccines.

"It is analogous to dollar diplomacy. Simply because vaccines have supplanted dollars, "he added, referring to the accusations exchanged between the two sides regarding the purchase of diplomatic support through loans and other inducements.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office did not respond to a request for comment but has previously stated that China's vaccine offer is genuine and Taiwan should avoid political roadblocks.


Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Centre told Reuters that the information about vaccines from Fosun in a state media report announcing the offer was "ambiguous," and there was no way to determine whether the shots complied with Taiwan's regulations.

Fosun has declined to comment on requests for comment.

Taiwan's government is also under pressure at home to accept the Fosun vaccines from the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party.

At a news conference on Thursday, senior KMT official Cheng Li-wun dubbed President Tsai Ing-wen, a "vaccine liar" and held up a sign declaring that without vaccines, people would die.

Cheng questioned the government's refusal to purchase vaccines from Fosun, claiming that their shots were "100%" BioNTech vaccines. "Everyone has purchased goods from distributors before," she said, adding that Tsai was imprisoned by an "ideological wall" and that her rejection of China's offer was motivated by a desire to maintain face.

Taiwan's anger was compounded this week when it was denied entry as an observer to the WHO's decision-making World Health Assembly due to opposition from Beijing and its allies.

Meanwhile, China's almost daily incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone's southwestern corner have continued.

Hu Xijin, the editor of China's influential Global Times newspaper, said Tuesday that while humanitarian concerns about vaccines existed, Beijing had a bottom line.

"Military aircraft will continue to circle Taiwan and other forms of pressure," he said.

Reponsive Ads