With its enviable success in containing the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) within its confines, Taiwan, the Philippines’ closest neighbor up north, said it could do more in helping other countries if given the chance to participate in activities and meetings of the United Nations (UN).
Taiwan’s statement comes as the UN marks its 75th anniversary this year while the world is in a virtual standstill facing an unprecedented health crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After almost six months, Taiwan, with its 23.5 million people, registered only about 480 confirmed cases, with seven deaths, and 443 recoveries.
“We managed this without lockdowns; schools were only closed for two weeks in February. Baseball games also restarted in April. Initially, cardboard cutouts stood in for the crowds, but by mid-July, games were back in full swing, attended by as many as 10,000 spectators,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu said in an op-ed posted by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) on Wednesday.
Minister Wu said their success in stemming the COVID-19 spread was mainly due to Taiwan’s “quick response measures,” which includes the establishment of a Central Epidemic Command Center, the implementation of stringent border controls, and quarantine procedures, and transparent information-sharing.
This, he said, was coupled with their swift action to ensure an adequate stock of medical supplies noting Taiwan’s “world-class health care system.”
Taiwan was also among few countries that donated much-needed medical supplies and equipment to the Philippines, in partnership with several Taiwanese civic and business organizations.
By the end of June, Wu said Taiwan had donated 51 million surgical masks, 1.16 million N95 masks, 600,000 isolation gowns, 35,000 forehead thermometers, and other medical materials to more than 80 countries.
“Now more than ever, the global community must make a concerted effort to forge a better and more sustainable future called for by the UN and its Member States. Taiwan is ready, willing, and able to be a part of these efforts,” Wu said, adding “Working together for the greater good is how the world will defeat COVID-19.”
The Taiwanese official pointed out that not having his country’s input in the UN is a “loss to the global community,” citing its works on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where it can help countries better recover from the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Moreover, Wu reminded the UN of its very own Charter to “reaffirm faith” in fundamental human rights and “the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.”
“The ideal of upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms for all laid out in this text must not remain empty words. As it looks ahead to the next 75 years, it is never too late for the UN to welcome Taiwan’s participation,” he said.
For many years, Taiwan has been aspiring to become a member of the UN or its sub-organizations like the World Health Organization but failed to do so due to the strong objection of the People’s Republic of China.