CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan to provide financing for Paraguay to buy COVID-19 vaccines

04/24/2021 09:11 PM
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Image taken from Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez
Image taken from Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez's Facebook page (facebook.com/MaritoAbdo2018)

Taipei, April 24 (CNA) Taiwan will provide financing for its South American ally Paraguay to purchase COVID-19 vaccines from India, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday.

To help Paraguay, one of Taiwan's 15 diplomatic allies and its only one in South America, fight the pandemic, the ministry said Taipei has agreed to adjust a bilateral memorandum of understanding signed in 2018.

As a result, US$16.50 million will be provided to Asuncion to purchase 2 million doses of Covaxin vaccine from Indian-based Bharat Biotech.

Covaxin is the first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed by India.

On April 22, Taiwan's ambassador José Han (韓志正) signed a document with Paraguay's Deputy Minister of Comprehensive Health Care and Social Welfare Hernán Martínez to adjust the 2018 MOU by prioritizing efforts to fight the disease.

Paraguay's Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo witnessed the signing.

Paraguay's foreign ministry has expressed gratitude to Taiwan for helping the South American ally fight the pandemic, adding that cooperation between the two nations will strengthen democracy, MOFA said.

As of Saturday, Paraguay had reported 263,134 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5,715 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Taiwan and Paraguay have long had a strong friendship and worked closely in various areas, the ministry said.

Taiwan's government will continue to provide assistance to Paraguay in this time of need, so as to facilitate the country's social and economic development.

The ministry said Taiwan will also continue to team up with like-minded countries to safeguard democracy.

In March, Paraguay's foreign minister said China was planning to provide COVID-19 vaccines to encourage the South American country to switch its recognition to Beijing from Taipei, which raised concerns over diplomatic ties between Paraguay and Taiwan.

However, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez tweeted on April 20 that his country rejected China's blackmailing tactics.

Paraguay will procure the Covaxin vaccine from India, while other vaccines are on the way to the country, he said.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Frances Huang)

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