| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Taiwan expresses gratitude for vaccines, praises Czech Republic as a democracy partner

The Czech Republic is donating 30,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, according to the island’s president, who praised the central European country for taking a risky step.

“This demonstrates not only that Taiwan and Czech Republic are firm partners on the path of freedom and democracy, but also that a friend in need is a good friend indeed,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in a statement announcing the vaccine donation.

China, which claims Taiwan as its sovereign territory, condemned the Czech Senate President last year for making an official visit to the democratic island. Following that, Czech President Milos Zeman attempted to defuse the situation by calling the speaker’s trip a “boyish provocation.”

Since a rare spike in domestic cases began in Taiwan in May, the government has received nearly six million vaccine doses donated by Japan and the United States, allowing it to speed up an inoculation program that it claimed was initially hampered by China, though Beijing denies any negative role.

The Czech Republic’s decision to donate vaccines to Taiwan follows similar actions by Lithuania and Slovakia.

Since the pandemic began, Taiwan has donated millions of face masks around the world, including to the Czech Republic.

Like most governments, the Czech Republic has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan although Taiwan is a large investor in the country.

  • Reuters