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February 22, 2021: Briefings on South Asia

1) Taiwan to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines

· Taiwan has approved emergency use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and will soon begin to receive and administer shipments.

· The US-made Moderna vaccine is currently awaiting approval for emergency use, and once it is cleared, Taiwan will receive 5 million doses.

· Germany’s BioNTech is also returning to its plan to provide vaccines for Taiwan after previously refusing due to pressure from China.

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2) G7 leaders discuss how to deal with China

· Although G7 leaders vaguely discussed approaches to dealing with China, specific and actionable measures have yet to be decided.

· Participants in the spring meeting stated that they would “engage” with Beijing and work to mitigate unfair and dangerous practices.

· Germany and the US were among members who pointed out the need to defend against China’s growing threat to democracies in the Pacific, but definite action is hindered by trade interests with China.

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3) Taiwanese engineer plays essential role for NASA’s new rover

· National Tsing Hua University graduate Yen Cheng (嚴正) is the navigation controller of NASA’s new Perseverance Mars rover.

· Yen has led his team in developing the navigation code and programming in addition to guiding the rover around the planet’s surface.

· NASA and space exploration have made considerable progress during Yen’s time at NASA, and he encourages the younger Taiwanese generation to follow their dreams in astronautics.

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