Paraguay Says Chinese Vaccine Offers Linked to Taiwan Dumping


Photographer: Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

Like many nations, Paraguay faces an uphill battle to obtain coronavirus vaccines. But his search is complicated by strained relations between China on the one hand and Taiwan and the United States on the other.

The Paraguayan government has received offers of vaccines made in China in exchange for severing ties with Taiwan, the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier this week. The ministry said the offers were made by people “whose legitimacy and ties to the government of the People’s Republic of China are unproven.”

Interior Minister Euclides Acevedo promised in a radio interview on Monday not to give in to the pressure, according to the local news site. Today. “We are not going to accept that they tell us: ‘We sell vaccines, but they break relations with Taiwan,'” Acevedo said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday that she was not aware of the source of the allegations, but said the country “was always honorable and frank” with its offers of support for vaccines. “About the specific incident you mentioned, I think it is a typical piece of malicious disinformation,” Hua told a regular news conference in Beijing.

The episode is the latest example of how geopolitics is infecting the global race for vaccines, with major powers dominating production and hogging supplies. Paraguay is one of the 15 diplomatic partners that recognize the government of Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, about Beijing.

The Communist Party of China claims Taiwan as its territory, despite never having ruled it, and has stepped up its efforts to poach the island’s diplomatic allies since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. Tsai , who maintains that Taiwan is already a sovereign nation, and has sought to defend such relations while maintaining greater economic and security ties with the US.

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