The U.S. State Department on Thursday (May 13) condemned the “malicious use” of vaccines for political purposes, without naming names, as the Chinese Communist Party uses “vaccine diplomacy” to steal away Taiwan’s allies in Latin America.
Honduras is one of the few Latin American countries that maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The country recently said it is considering opening an office in mainland China to obtain much-needed vaccines for the Chinese communist virus (COVID-19); Taipei has criticized Beijing’s move to use the vaccines in exchange for diplomatic recognition.
Several Latin American countries are receiving the Chinese-made vaccine, but countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, such as Honduras and Guatemala, do not have access to it.
“We condemn this self-serving behavior (by the Chinese Communist Party) – using potentially life-saving medical aid to advance the narrow political agendas of donor countries.” A U.S. State Department spokesman responded to Honduras’ question without naming names, but everyone knew the response was directed at the Chinese Communist Party’s vaccine diplomacy.
The spokesperson said that Taiwan’s relations with countries in Latin America, including Honduras, reinforce democratic values in the Western Hemisphere and support sustainable development, and that the United States stands with Honduras in the face of these challenges.
In addition, the Chinese mainland has exerted similar pressure on Taiwan’s other ally, Paraguay, one of only 15 Latin American countries to officially recognize Taiwan over Beijing.
The Chinese Communist Party has sought to strengthen its ties with the rest of the world through vaccine diplomacy with a very clear goal – to further its geopolitical influence.
The Chinese government has exported millions of doses of the CCP virus vaccine to developing countries and has repeatedly denied that it uses these vaccines to gain diplomatic advantage.
On the other hand, Beijing has been gradually cutting back on Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and increasing its pull in Latin America and the Pacific, where the vaccine has become a tool as well as a diplomatic resource.
The United States earlier this month backed calls from emerging countries, led by India and South Africa, to temporarily lift patent protection on the Chinese Communist virus vaccine so that more doses could be distributed globally.