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Palau president speaks up for Taiwan during UN address

Much of Palauan president’s speech dedicated to supporting Taiwan

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Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. speaks at 76th session of UN General Assembly. (YouTube screenshot)

Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. speaks at 76th session of UN General Assembly. (YouTube screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr. lauded Taiwan for its leadership in fighting COVID-19 and called for its inclusion in the United Nations system as he delivered a speech at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday (Sept. 21).

Whipps Jr., who assumed office in January, spent much of his 13-minute address thanking Palau’s allies and friends that have come to the aid of the Oceanic country throughout the pandemic.

He expressed gratitude to Taiwan, the U.S., Japan, and Australia for providing much-needed vaccines, protective gear, testing capacity, and vital training. The assistance has allowed Palau to remain "COVID-free" through most of the pandemic and now "COVID-safe" with over 80% of its population fully vaccinated, resulting in zero deaths and hospitalizations, he noted.

Whipps Jr. also praised Taiwan for demonstrating leadership in its COVID-19 response and making a travel corridor possible between the two countries, and he urged the world to give Taiwan a voice. “We encourage the UN system to accept Taiwan as a valuable contributor to our collective effort and strongly advocate Taiwan’s participation in the UN system,” he reckoned.

It’s a common practice for Taiwan’s allies to voice their support for the country at UN general assemblies, but never has any world leader devoted such a significant portion of their talk to championing a greater role for Taiwan in the international community, according to CNA.

Buoyed by the success of the bilateral "travel bubble" and in a move to attract Taiwanese visitors, Palau has promised free BNT inoculations to arrivals from Taiwan by the end of October, reported ETToday.