By Caribbean News Global
WASHINGTON, USA – High-level officials representing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the US Department of State, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), and the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 31, 2020, convened for a virtual forum on expanding Taiwan’s participation on the global stage.
The discussion focused on creating forums to share the successful and internationally lauded Taiwan Model on fighting COVID-19 with countries around the world.
In an interview with David Chien, director-general of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami, Wednesday, told Caribbean News Global (CNG) that, “We are very sorry that as of April 1, Taiwan is still not a member of the World Health Organization (WHO). As a provider of international medical assistance, Taiwan has had rich, extensive development experience in epidemic prevention, universal health insurance coverage, provision of emergency medical assistance and training of medical personnel, which can all be of valuable reference to other countries,” he added. “Taiwan has again been lauded internationally for its handling of the outbreak of COVID-19 and it should be included in the related meetings and mechanism in WHO. We believe Taiwan’s inclusion in the global disease prevention network would benefit many countries and help make the WHO disease prevention efforts more effective.”
Director-General Chien reiterated that WHO’s mission is to achieve the highest attainable standard of health for all of humankind and ensure the universal right to health. No one should be left out of this effort.
“The absence of Taiwan in the world health system will cause a gap in epidemic prevention. We call on WHO to commit itself to its mission instead of allowing political issues such as China’s objection and oppression to take precedence over the universal health rights of the people of the world. Taiwan is willing and able to work side-by-side with the international community and contribute much more to fight against COVID-19 and other pandemics,” director-general Chien said.
At last Tuesday’s meeting, participants discussed ongoing efforts to reinstate Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly, as well as other avenues for closer coordination between Taiwan and WHO.
Participants in the forum included: AIT director Brent Christensen, acting assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs Pam Pryor, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and pacific affairs ambassador Atul Keshap, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and pacific affairs Jonathan Fritz, deputy assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs Nerissa Cook, TECRO Representative Stanley Kao, Taiwan deputy foreign minister Kelly Hsieh, and Taiwan director-general for international organizations Bob Chen.
A US State Department note said, “recently, the United States and Taiwan announced enhanced cooperation on preventing the spread of COVID-19.” And that, “working with Taiwan and like-minded countries to expand Taiwan’s international participation is an important part of that effort. Countries around the world can benefit from better understanding the Taiwan Model, as well as the generous contributions and impressive expertise Taiwan – a vibrant democracy and force for good – brings to the global community.”
Taiwan foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou, said recently, the WHO needed to “continue to review and improve upon some unreasonable restrictions imposed on Taiwan based on political considerations”.