Taiwan has welcomed the arrival of about 2.5 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine from the United States, a gesture that was met angrily by China.
The doses, which landed at the Taoyuan International Airport outside of the capital Taipei Sunday after a one-day flight, more than tripling an initial pledge of 750,000 doses made by the Biden administration to the self-governing island.
In a post on Facebook, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen praised the arrival of the vaccines.
“Whether it is for regional peace and stability or the virus that is a common human adversary, we will continue to uphold common ideas and work together,” President Tsai wrote.
According to the Reuters news agency, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry urged the U.S. to avoid “political manipulation in the name of vaccine assistance and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs.” China claims the self-governed island as part of its territory, and has offered Taiwan doses of its domestically produced vaccines, which Taipei has refused.
The self-ruled island had been held up as one of the world’s few success stories in containing the spread of the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic, but it has been dealing with an sudden outbreak of new infections which authorities have connected to outbreaks among flight crews with state-owned China Airlines and a hotel at Taoyuan International Airport.
Taiwan currently has 14,005 confirmed COVID-19 infections, including 549 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.