US gives no real commitment to Taiwan over vaccine

By Liu Xin and Zhang Han Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/11 22:47:18

Taiwan Photo: Unsplash


By giving no commitment to a preferential offering for the island of Taiwan on any future coronavirus vaccine, US Health Secretary Alex Azar's visit to the island has been ridiculed as "a trip of lip service" that fully exposed the US practice of using Taiwan as a pawn to contain China at no cost. However, the Taiwan authority still refuses to admit it, experts and netizens said. 

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Azar made it clear that "our first priority of course is to develop and produce enough quantity of safe and effective FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics for use in the United States," the UK-based Independentreported. 

Azar also said that the US-developed vaccines would be available in the world community once the needs in the US are met. 

The remarks were made after the US and the island of Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation. During a meeting before the signing, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen expressed expectations that the two sides would make progress in combating the coronavirus, including on vaccine and drug research and production.  

While the Democratic Progressive Party in the island hailed Azar's visit and the signing of the MOU as major political progresses, Azar's remarks, in which he did not even mention Taiwan by name, frustrated many people in Taiwan with some criticizing Tsai and her DPP for doing its utmost to cooperate with the US in a political drama but getting nothing good for the island of Taiwan. 

As for the MOU, it was deemed as empty, without mentioning a coronavirus vaccine or drugs. "Taiwan-US joint epidemic prevention" is nothing more than the emperor's new clothes, Taiwan local media outlet reported on Tuesday.

Azar's "America First" remarks also further frustrated many in the island, including Su Ih-Jen, a scientist on infectious diseases and former director of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control. A vaccine is what Taiwan needs most in terms of American assistance. Azar's visit was meaningless if the vaccine issue was not addressed, Taiwan news outlet quoted Su as saying. 

Chen I-hsin, honorary professor at Taiwan's Tamkang University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the Taiwan authority is doing its utmost to cooperate with the US in this political performance, which has turned out to be a total farce. 

Which position will Taiwan be in, when the US' domestic needs are met? Chen said that may be after its Five Eyes allies, as well as Japan and South Korea - or even after that. 

But the domestic need may also make this queue longer considering the severe epidemic in the US. According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, the US had 5,095,163 infections as of press time on Tuesday, topping the global confirmed list. 

The US in early July announced it was buying nearly all of the next three months' projected production of COVID-19 treatment remdesivir from drug manufacturer Gilead, which was widely criticized as an action ignoring the common good and undermining international cooperation in fighting the coronavirus.

One Taiwan netizen commented, "It is just a political show. The US itself is in the abyss of an epidemic, why still dream of their help?" 

Observers said that the deeds and remarks of Azar during the visit showed once again that the US is only using the island of Taiwan to provoke China as well as helping US President Donald Trump's reelection. It has no intention to help the island of Taiwan to solve any problems, while Tsai and other separatists refuse to admit the fact. 


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