Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has praised Taiwan’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and called the country a reliable partner in a statement that sharply contrasted with recent US criticism of China, which denies Taiwan’s sovereignty and claims it as a province.
“We have a shared vision for the region — one that includes rule of law, transparency, prosperity, and security for all,” Pompeo said in a statement released Tuesday.
“The recent Covid-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the international community to see why Taiwan’s pandemic-response model is worthy of emulation.”
Pompeo, a day earlier, had condemned the exclusion of Taiwan from the World Health Organization’s annual meeting, saying it proved US charges that the UN body was under the Chinese Communist Party’s thumb.
The WHO member states at the annual meeting delayed discussion on whether to grant observer status to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a province awaiting reunification and seeks to exclude from all international organizations.
Pompeo said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has been harshly criticized by President Trump, “had every legal power and precedent” to include Taiwan in the meeting.
“Yet he instead chose not to invite Taiwan under pressure from the People’s Republic of China,” Pompeo said in a statement.
“The Director-General’s lack of independence deprives the Assembly of Taiwan’s renowned scientific expertise on pandemic disease, and further damages the WHO’s credibility and effectiveness at a time when the world needs it the most.”
Taiwan has enjoyed remarkable success in combating the pandemic, with only seven deaths and some 400 infections despite its proximity and close commercial links with mainland China, where the disease originated.
“The PRC’s spiteful action to silence Taiwan exposes the emptiness of its claims to want transparency and international cooperation to fight the pandemic, and makes the difference between China and Taiwan ever more stark,” Pompeo said.
“No one disputes that Taiwan has mounted one of the world’s most successful efforts to contain the pandemic to date, despite its close proximity to the original outbreak in Wuhan, China,” Pompeo continued.
“Taiwan is a model world citizen, while the PRC continues to withhold vital information about the virus and its origins, deny access to their scientists and relevant facilities, censor discussion of the pandemic within China and on Chinese social media properties, and casts blame widely and recklessly” he said.
Taiwan also said it was “disappointed and angry” with the WHO for not extending an invitation to join this year’s assembly.
“We feel disappointed and angry about WHO’s decision of not inviting Taiwan to join this year’s WHA. We feel we have so much to share about our successful experiences in this Covid-19 outbreak response” said Yi-Chun Lo, deputy director general at Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, CNBC reported.
“Our major concern is because Taiwan is not included in WHO’s network, there might not be fair opportunity for Taiwan to get a share [from] the global vaccination program ,” said Lo.
“So we have to have our own manufacturers [work] very hard on producing vaccine for our domestic purpose,” he said, adding that Taiwan would share any successful vaccine with the global community.