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Taiwan accuses US of causing ‘unnecessary speculation’ after White House deletes Covid-19 donations tweet

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Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry has asked the United States to avoid causing “unnecessary speculation or misunderstanding” after the White House Covid-19 Response Team deleted a tweet that contained the island’s flag.

Earlier this week, the White House coronavirus taskforce posted a tweet that showed the flags of nations receiving donations of vaccine doses from the US, including Taiwan, which received Moderna shots last month. 

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen initially shared the post, alongside the caption “Thank you to the US for your generosity. Together, we will beat this pandemic,” but the original tweet was later removed by the White House on Wednesday. 

A spokesperson for the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry addressed the removal of the post, stating on Thursday that the island’s officials had contacted the representative office in the US to remind the nation “not to cause unnecessary speculation or misunderstanding.”

The US has not publicly responded to the removal of the tweet or the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry’s comments, nor did Taiwan reveal if they received a response or explanation of the incident. 

America’s official policy is that it does not recognize the Taiwanese government, only dealing with the island through official relations with Beijing. Under its ‘One China’ policy, Beijing claims the island as part of its territory, while Taiwan has sought to secure self-rule. 

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However, in recent months, the US has angered China by engaging in direct contact with Taiwan, with a bipartisan group of senators visiting the island to announce plans to donate Covid vaccines. This occurred despite Beijing warning Washington, DC in April against crossing a “red line” over the island after a US ambassador met with Taiwanese officials. In 2020, the US finalized a $5 billion arms sale to the island, allowing it to bolster its protection and counter China’s actions in the region.

Back in June, the US donated 2.5 million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan. The shipment arrived via a China Airlines cargo plane and was welcomed by Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung and US official Brent Christensen.

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