Taiwan, US hold video conference on Pacific region epidemic prevention

Taiwan, US participate in 'Pacific Islands Dialogue' to strengthen epidemic prevention measures among Pacific Island nations

The Pacific Islands Dialogue serves to expand the reach of Taiwan’s assistance projects among partner countries.

The Pacific Islands Dialogue serves to expand the reach of Taiwan’s assistance projects among partner countries. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Thursday (June 4) that Taiwan and the U.S. held an online dialogue on epidemic prevention assistance in the Pacific in order to promote regional advanced deployment of medical and health care in the post-pandemic era.

Baushuan Ger (葛葆萱), director-general of the foreign ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said at a MOFA press conference that Taiwan and the U.S. held a virtual Pacific Islands Dialogue entitled " Taiwan-US Pacific Epidemic Prevention Online Dialogue" early Thursday morning, CNA reported.

The keynote speakers of the event were Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Su-chien (徐斯儉), and Sandra Oudkirk, U.S. senior official for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.

Ger said that U.S. participants also included the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Brent Christensen and representatives from USAID, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and embassy representatives from Pacific countries. Taiwanese participants included Stanley Kao (高碩泰), the representative to the U.S., a representative from the International Cooperation and Development Fund, Taiwanese ambassadors to the Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, and Nauru, and hospital representatives who are implementing a “Taiwan Medical Plan” in Pacific ally countries.

Ger said that as the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) spread, Taiwan donated masks, infrared thermal imaging thermometers, and other medical supplies to Pacific Island countries, including its diplomatic allies, in order to strengthen epidemic prevention efforts in the region.

He stated that Taiwan looked forward to jointly coordinating medical cooperation with the U.S. and all Pacific region partners in the post-epidemic era, so as to improve Pacific Island nations' healthcare capabilities.

Ger mentioned that all parties in attendance decided on an in-person Pacific Islands Dialogue—most likely in the U.S.— once the pandemic is over.

The first Pacific Islands Dialogue was held last October, in Taipei. According to Taiwan Today, the event serves as a platform for expanding the reach of Taiwan’s assistance projects among partner countries and highlights the commitment of like-minded partners to advancing a more free and open Indo-Pacific.