April 9, 2020
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) expresses profound regret and strong protest regarding the false accusations against our government made by World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and solemnly declares the following:
1. In a press conference at WHO in Geneva on April 8, Dr. Tedros groundlessly accused the government of Taiwan of having encouraged the Taiwanese people to discredit him. His unfounded accusations are seriously misleading to the international community. MOFA expresses profound regret and strongly protests this.
2. MOFA condemns all forms of discrimination, and regrets any biased statements made against Dr. Tedros. We understand how he feels given that the 23 million people of Taiwan have long experienced the serious political discrimination of the international health system. MOFA has stressed in a press release February 9 to urge individuals and associations to be rational when expressing support for Taiwan to gain participation in global public health and disease prevention networks. As to unidentified individuals of unknown nationality who have used the internet to criticize Dr. Tedros’s handling of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, such personal expressions of opinion are not associated with MOFA, and are not something over which MOFA has controlled.
It is only reasonable that the people of the world should monitor the response of WHO and its leader, Dr. Tedros, to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Tedros’s unwarranted charges, made without any attempt at verification, are contrary to the facts and have caused serious damage to the government and people of Taiwan. Such slander is irresponsible, and the government of Taiwan demands that the Director-General immediately correct his trumped-up claims, issue a clarification, and apologize to the people of Taiwan.
3. Years of exclusion from the WHO system and the invaluable lessons learned from the 2003 SARS pandemic prompted Taiwan to very quickly take effective preventive and proactive response measures against COVID-19. This has minimized the impact on citizens’ daily lives through treatment, tracking, quarantine and mitigation, thus creating a widely recognized Taiwan Model that the international community hopes to learn from. In terms of supporting global cooperation to contain the pandemic, Taiwan has donated key supplies needed by frontline medical personnel in the countries most severely affected by the pandemic, including those in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Southeast Asia, to support medical personnel around the world as they are jointly in the frontline fighting this pandemic. Taiwan being granted full involvement in WHO would allow us to share our successful experience with the world more effectively, and actively contribute to prevention and containment efforts, thus putting an end to the pandemic as quickly as possible.
4. As head of WHO, Dr. Tedros should assume the duty to include all parties, since he emphasized “we are only as strong as we are united”. The government of Taiwan once again calls on the Director-General to put aside all political discrimination, maintain neutrality and professionalism, invite Taiwan to fully participate in all WHO meetings and mechanisms regarding the fight against COVID-19, and restore Taiwan’s observer status in the World Health Assembly, for the health and well-being of the people of Taiwan and all the world. (E)
April 9, 2020