Germany lends a hand for Taiwan to secure BioNTech vaccines

World | 2 Jun 2021 12:05 pm

Germany's top diplomat in Taipei said his government has been helping in talks between Taiwan and drugmaker BioNTech SE to supply coronavirus vaccines, after Taiwan said a deal fell apart earlier this year due to Chinese "intervention," Reuters reports.

China denied that accusation. But a war of words escalated after the Chinese-claimed island of Taiwan rejected Beijing's offer to supply it with shots made by Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, which holds a contract to sell them in Greater China.

In a Facebook post in Chinese on Wednesday, Thomas Prinz, Germany's de facto ambassador to Taiwan, said they had "noticed the recent controversy regarding vaccine acquisition." 

"Please believe that the German government, especially Federal Economy Minister Altmaier himself, have made great efforts in the continuous communication and coordination between Taiwan and BioNTech," he said, adding that whether a contract is eventually signed would depend on the two parties.

"If the parties to the contract can reach a consensus, the federal government is naturally happy to see it happen."

Germany's BioNTech asked Taiwan to remove the word "country" from their planned joint announcement on a vaccine sale to the island, its health minister said last week.

Prinz noted Germany's donations to the Covax global vaccine sharing scheme for lower income countries, through which Taiwan has already received AstraZeneca Plc shots.

"I hope that there will be enough vaccines from different brands, including BioNTech, imported into Taiwan as soon as possible."

Neither BioNTech or Fosun immediately responded to a request for comment. Germany, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan and only recognises the government in Beijing.


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