Taiwan, US hold virtual forum on combating coronavirus

Taiwan and the U.S. held a virtual forum on potential partnerships to combat coronavirus and how to expand Taiwan’s international participation March 31, spotlighting both sides’ interest in working together to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organized by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health and Welfare alongside Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. and in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, the event highlighted the Taiwan Model of disease response featuring timely intervention and transparent sharing of information, as well as efforts to include Taiwan in the mechanisms, meetings and activities of the World Health Organization.
According to the U.S. DOS, the event was held under the terms of a bilateral agreement first announced March 18 on cooperation against coronavirus. As a democracy and force for good in the world, Taiwan deserves observer status at the upcoming World Health Assembly to share its expertise in tackling COVID-19 with other nations, it added.
The sentiment was shared by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a day earlier during a press conference, saying the DOS will comply with the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act of 2019, which was signed into law by U.S. President Donald J. Trump March 26 and stipulates the U.S. government must facilitate Taiwan’s international participation by lobbying for its appropriate inclusion in global bodies.
The event was attended by Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Wu-chiao Hsieh and Representative to the U.S. Stanley Kao, as well as AIT Managing Director John J. Norris Jr. and Director Brent Christensen from the organization’s Washington and Taipei offices, respectively. Officials from the U.S. DOS were also present, including Acting Assistant Secretary of State Pam Pryor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Nerissa J. Cook from the Bureau of International Organization Affairs and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Atul Keshap and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan Fritz from the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Taiwan participated in the annual WHA as an observer from 2009 to 2016. The government is seeking a seat at the table for the 73rd edition scheduled May 17-21 in Geneva.(YCH-E)
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