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Previous story American senators visited Taiwan to announce the donation of 750,000 doses of Covid vaccines. The donation is likely to draw the ire of Beijing Next story

STORY BY NECTAR GAN AND BEN WESTCOTT, CNN

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Published on June 7, 2021 11:55 AM

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American senators visited Taiwan to announce the donation of 750,000 doses of Covid vaccines. The donation is likely to draw the ire of Beijing
Taiwan is finally getting much-needed help from the United States to fight its spiraling coronavirus outbreak. But to Beijing, the offer is a major provocation that risks escalating both cross-strait and US-China relations.

A delegation of US senators visited Taiwan on Sunday morning local time to announce the donation of 750,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called the vaccines "timely rain" for the island, which has only vaccinated 3% of its population and on Saturday recorded its highest daily Covid death toll of 37 fatalities.

"It was critical to the United States that Taiwan be included in the first group to receive vaccines because we recognize your urgent need and we value this partnership," Sen. Tammy Duckworth said during the three-hour visit.

The donation is likely to draw the ire of Beijing, which has bridled at Taipei's apparent refusal to accept its offer of Chinese-made coronavirus vaccines. Taipei, on the other hand, has accused Beijing of blocking its efforts to purchase vaccines internationally, rather than trying to help. When delivering his welcoming remarks to the US visitors on Sunday, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu again criticized Beijing. "While we are doing our best to import vaccines, we must overcome obstacles to ensure that these lifesaving medicines are delivered free of trouble from Beijing. Taiwan is no stranger to this kind of obstruction," he said.

But the biggest poke in the eye to Beijing is perhaps not Wu's comments or the vaccine donation deal itself, but the US military aircraft parked on the runway.