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Fri Jun 4, 2021, 01:02 PM

Japan Enters Taiwan-China Fight With Vaccine Shipments to Taipei

(Bloomberg) -- Japan sent some of its Covid-19 vaccines to Taiwan, which has been struggling to procure its own supplies and blamed China for impeding shipments of the shots.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters Japan provided about 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine free of charge. The shipment arrived on a flight Friday and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered its appreciation in a statement.

Motegi reiterated that Taiwan has an urgent need for supplies of the vaccine as Covid spreads and domestic production is not set to be ramped up until July. “We decided to provide this based on our important partnership with Taiwan and our friendship,” Motegi said, adding many in Japan remembered that Taiwan was the first to offer support after it was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The shortage amid rising case numbers in Taiwan has raised fears of a health crisis that could hurt its semiconductor production, which is crucial for global industry. Donating the vaccines to Taiwan could irritate China, Japan’s biggest trading partner, which sees the island as part of its territory and has stepped up military exercises in the region in recent months.


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