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Taiwan thanks U.S. lawmakers for pushing to share vaccines

ROC Central News Agency

05/22/2021 09:48 PM

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Saturday thanked a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the United States Congress for urging Washington to share the country's surplus of COVID-19 vaccines with Taiwan.

A letter signed by more than 60 Republicans and Democrats to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which urges the U.S. government to help Taiwan with vaccine supply as it sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases, demonstrates the strong friendship between the U.S. Congress and Taiwan, the ministry said.

The lawmakers, led by Republican Andy Barr, included Elise Stefanik from the same party and Democrat Brad Sherman, MOFA said.

The ministry said it hopes the two countries can further strengthen their partnership in disease control in the future.

According to the Washington Examiner, the lawmakers urged U.S. President Joe Biden to prioritize Taiwan in vaccine deliveries in the Indo-Pacific region, citing its "adept" response and efforts "to counterbalance China's weaponization of the global supply chain" with its mask donations to the U.S.

"Taiwan is working to stem the spread of COVID-19 and avoid an economic lockdown," according to the letter, as cited by the newspaper.

"Such measures to slow the spread would not only impact Taiwan's domestic economy but also have immense second order-effects on the United States' own recovery by threatening Taiwan's critical continued production of chips, semiconductors, and other electronics products essential to America's technology and auto industries," the letter said.

According to MOFA, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra voiced his support earlier this week for Taiwan to access COVID-19 vaccines.

Becerra posted the message on the HHS Office of Global Affairs Twitter page after concluding a virtual meeting with Taiwan's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), in which they exchanged views on global health issues, including the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden has said his administration will send an additional 20 million doses of vaccines overseas by the end of June, bringing the total to 80 million doses, which has raised hopes that Taiwan will benefit from the allocations.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Lee Hsin-Yin)


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