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Taiwan welcomes US vaccine aid

A China Airlines Boeing 777 freighter carrying the vaccines landed at Taoyuan airport outside of Taipei late afternoon, greeted on the tarmac by Health Minister Chen Shih-chung and the top U.S. diplomat in Taiwan, Brent Christensen.

Speaking from her office in comments broadcast after the arrival of the Moderna Inc shots, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her "sincere gratitude."

The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is its most important international backer, to China's anger. The newly arrived 2.5 million doses will more than double the number of vaccines that have come to the island, including 1.24 million AstraZeneca Plc shots donated by Japan this month.

Taiwan is trying to speed up the arrival of the millions of vaccines it has on order as it deals with a rise in domestic cases, although infections remain comparatively low and have stabilised. Only around 6% of Taiwan's 23.5 million people have received at least one of the two-shot coronavirus vaccine regimen.

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