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Mainland bodies willing to assist Taiwan with vaccines

By ZHANG YI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-05-27 07:31
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Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei,Taiwan. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese mainland has offered its backing to mainland organizations that are willing to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, a spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said on Wednesday.

"We support such efforts and will provide active assistance in this regard," Zhu Fenglian, the spokeswoman, said at a news conference when responding to a media query on the progress of the mainland's vaccine assistance to the island.

The pledge came after some social organizations in Shanghai and Jiangsu province expressed willingness to donate vaccines to the island to help it cope with its recent outbreak.

A Taiwan resident receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a community health center in Jiading new city, Shanghai, April 19, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Lian Qingtao, president of the Jiangsu Cross Strait Cultural Exchange Promotion, said the organization would like to donate a batch of vaccines to Taiwan compatriots to help them fight the pandemic and return to normal life.

The Shanghai Medical and Health Development Foundation also expressed its willingness to send vaccines to Taiwan and called on the island's authorities to remove obstacles and provide convenience for the delivery of the vaccine on humanitarian grounds.

Shi Qianghua, secretary-general of the foundation, said: "Shanghai and Taiwan have established a profound friendship through long-term exchanges and cooperation. People in Shanghai are concerned about the outbreak on the island and hope that it can soon get over these difficulties."

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said earlier this week that the mainland is willing to arrange the prompt purchase of vaccines and send epidemic prevention and control experts to Taiwan.

However, the island's Democratic Progressive Party administration on Tuesday rejected the mainland's offer of help and claimed that it was made in order to mislead the public into blaming the island's authorities for the recent outbreak.

Taiwan has had more than 100 newly confirmed cases a day for 12 consecutive days. It reported 304 new cases on Wednesday and 11 deaths, bringing the death toll to 46.Experts on the island predicted that the current outbreak would reach its peak by mid-June.

The outbreak has raised concerns about the availability of vaccines in Taiwan, as the island has been struggling with a shortage, with just 1 percent of its 23 million people being vaccinated so far.

Many city and county officials in Taiwan and nongovernmental organizations have called for the island's authorities to purchase vaccines from the mainland to cope with the outbreak.

About half of Taiwan's residents said they are willing to receive globally certified COVID-19 vaccines regardless of their origin, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation.

Zhu, the spokeswoman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said: "Taiwan residents have confidence in the mainland's vaccines. It now depends on whether the island's authorities will accept them. It is imperative to remove the man-made political barriers."

Zhu added that the island's authorities have been using "different excuses to prevent Taiwan residents from getting vaccines from the mainland, which is the biggest political obstacle for the export of vaccines from the mainland to Taiwan, and also for Taiwan residents to get rid of the epidemic".

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