China slammed a visit by three US Senators to democratic Taiwan on Monday, as the US pledged to deliver a large batch of COVID-19 vaccines to the island.
According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with Senators Tamworth, Dan Sullivan, and Christopher Coons’ brief stopover in Taipei to announce the donation of vaccines.
Taiwan, which has never been ruled by the CCP or been a part of the People’s Republic of China, claims Beijing has hampered its efforts to obtain imported vaccines as part of an ongoing campaign to isolate the country’s government – which it does not recognise – on the international stage.
“It was critical for the United States that Taiwan be included in the first group to receive vaccines, because we recognise your urgent need and value this partnership,” Senator Duckworth told reporters at Taipei’s Songshan Airport.
President Tsai Ing-wen said the Senators’ brief visit demonstrated Taipei and Washington’s “rock-solid friendship.”
“I also look forward to future cooperation with the United States, Japan, and other countries, which will enable Taiwan to overcome the immediate challenges it faces,” she added.
Taiwan is currently under level 3 restrictions due to a surge in community COVID-19 transmissions following months of no outbreaks since Tsai imposed strict immigration restrictions at the start of the pandemic.
Wang Ting-yu, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said vaccine donations from the United States and Japan demonstrated that democratic countries are standing by Taiwan in response to Chinese pressure on other countries. Japan had previously donated 1.24 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Taiwan, according to the Central News Agency (CNA).
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, stated that it was now Taiwan’s turn to benefit from international aid and cooperation, after the Taiwanese government donated equipment overseas at the start of the pandemic.
“We must overcome all obstacles if we are to ensure that Beijing does not obstruct Taiwan’s vaccine supply during the delivery process,” Wu warned.
“This isn’t just about Taiwan’s international standing; it’s about defending our freedoms and democratic way of life in the face of authoritarian aggression,” he said.
“Taiwan is on the cutting edge of universal values… Democracy will endure,” Wu said.
Duckworth told reporters at the airport on Sunday that she wanted to help Taiwan because her grandmother fled CCP rule on foot, crossing the border into Thailand, where her mother was born.
“My family and I understand the cost of liberty. And I’m here to tell you that the United States will not leave you to fend for yourself “Duckworth, who served in the United States military for over 20 years before being elected to Congress, said
“We will be by your side to ensure that the people of Taiwan have everything they need to get through this pandemic and beyond,” she said.