Taiwan's Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu speaks during an interview in Taipei, Taiwan November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Hamacher

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Taiwan has accused Beijing of trying to bribe Paraguay with COVID-19 vaccines to officially recognize Taiwan as part of China.

Paraguay is one of only 15 nations that still recognize Taiwan as independent, and is currently in dire need of vaccines. China has long insisted that Taiwan is part of China, though Taiwan has operated as its own country for decades.

Paraguay is struggling with a new wave of infections and the government faces widespread protests over its pandemic response. 

On Wednesday Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s foreign minister, told Agence France-Presse that China has sought to use the turmoil to pressure Paraguay into swearing publicly that Taiwan is part of China.

“This is a period of time when we see Chinese ‘vaccine diplomacy’ has been flexing its muscles in many parts of world, especially in central and south America,” Wu told the agency.

“The Chinese government was very active in saying … if the Paraguay government is willing to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan, they will be able to get quite a few million vaccine doses from China.”

Wu said that the offer from Beijing had put President Mario Abdo Benítez’s government in a tough spot, with Paraguay’s main political opposition …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics


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