While Chinese officials have begun an information campaign to try to blame the spread of coronavirus on the United States, Taiwan has stepped up to help the U.S., pledging to send 100,000 surgical face masks per week.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu made the announcement on Wednesday.
“Taiwan is expanding our medical cooperation with the U.S. government in the fight against the coronavirus,” Taiwan said in a statement. It went on:
Two countries will share best practices and deepen cooperation to combat the epidemic. The partnership includes research and development of rapid test, production of vaccines and medications, exchanges of medical supplies and equipment. As a responsible member of international community, Taiwan is willing to help and share our experiences in the fight against this horrible pandemic.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen also tweeted:
#Taiwan & the #US are expanding our cooperation to jointly develop tests, treatments, vaccines & more to better combat #COVID19. Our countries are not only partners in prosperity—we are partners through adversity & partners with integrity.
#Taiwan & the #US are expanding our cooperation to jointly develop tests, treatments, vaccines & more to better combat #COVID19. Our countries are not only partners in prosperity—we are partners through adversity & partners with integrity. pic.twitter.com/W4jfmZZU8U
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) March 18, 2020
Taiwan, despite its close proximity to China — where coronavirus originated – has come off relatively unscathed. It managed to prevent community spread within its borders, so far only suffering from one death.
Wu told radio show host Hugh Hewitt last week that it was able to do so due to its experience in combating SARS.
“We learned it from our experience. Taiwan was hit very hard by SARS back in 2002 and 2003. And we learned the lesson, and therefore, we try to structure the government to deal with an epidemic like this,” he said in the March 16 interview. He added:
So when we heard that there was some suspicious cases in Wuhan, China, we jumped up ahead of what may happen to us. We started our command center. We started our taskforce in dealing with the situation. And when the situation is getting worse in China, we mobilized the whole government to deal with the situation. We try to control the border. We tried to set up quarantine mechanisms, and we tried to set up tracing mechanisms to deal with those cases, including the contacts. And the government is also issuing public messaging policies. And we also set up ration mechanisms for materials for us to face the situation. So this is what we do altogether, and so far, it’s been successful.
Wu also discussed efforts by the Communist Chinese government to deny the coronavirus started in China:
When the Coronavirus started in Wuhan, we sent our CDC officials and experts to that area to make investigation. And we knew that there was something wrong in that place. But the Chinese government officials were rather quiet about the real situation. And I think right now, the world already knows where that it started, and that is the term that we use to describe this kind of Coronavirus. We called it Wuhan Pneumonia Coronavirus, and I think that’s the way the U.S. is calling it right now.
But the Chinese understand that its national reputation suffered tremendously in the last few months because of the Coronavirus. And what it’s trying to do is trying to overturn that kind of situation.
I think the Chinese are also coming out in a very strong way through its propaganda that it is the savior of the world right now — it can provide relief material, it can provide protection to the countries that are infected by the Coronavirus.
So this is the situation like trying to turn black into white. And that is something that I’m sure the United States will find unacceptable. And that is something we try to ignore, whatever comes out of China. We in Taiwan need to focus on our fight against Coronavirus.