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Former Taiwan VP speaks out at Global COVID-19 Summit, China ditches event

Chen Chien-jen announces Taiwan’s plan to donate US$1.5M to support vaccine coverage

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Countries around the world attend the second Global COVID-19 Summit. (Twitter, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield photo)

Countries around the world attend the second Global COVID-19 Summit. (Twitter, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan) — During the second Global COVID-19 Summit held online, former Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) announced Taiwan’s pledge to donate an additional US$1.5 million in support of vaccine coverage while continuing to provide medical equipment for countries in need.

In a pre-recorded speech, Chen introduced himself as a former VP of Taiwan and an epidemiologist at Academia Sinica, highlighting Taiwan’s contributions to the global anti-COVID effort. “Taiwan is a small island with a big heart. We have provided significant international humanitarian assistance to fight the spread of COVID-19.”

“Thanks to public and private partnerships, since April 2020, Taiwan has donated a total of US$17 million in medical supplies to more than 80 countries,” said Chen. “I am glad to announce that Taiwan pledges to donate a further US$1.5 million to support vaccine coverage. We also commit to continuing to provide medical masks, PCR testing machines, oxygen concentrators, and other supplies to countries in need.”

He added, “COVID-19 has shown how a global health crisis not only threatens lives but can also undermine democracy, human rights, and good governance. The Taiwan model is an example of how a modern democracy can work transparently using technology to fight the pandemic.”

Chen concluded his speech by stressing Taiwan will work with its democratic allies to “strengthen health systems, renew democracy, and uphold human rights.”

Meanwhile, China refused to join the summit, due to Taiwan’s presence by U.S. invitation. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) said during a press conference on Friday (May 13), that China was “unable” to attend the event due to the U.S.’ “disregard for China’s solemn stance” and going against the "one-China policy concensus."

Zhao claimed that China “ensured the stability of the global anti-pandemic supply chain” by providing protective suits, tests, and masks. However, the global community quickly realized their sup-par quality, per an earlier report by the LA Times.

Zhao added that China will “continue to work with the global community” to combat COVID despite refusing the U.S. invitation to attend the summit.

The second Global COVID-19 Summit saw 41 countries attend, including the African Union and the European Union, as well as a total of 51 non-government organizations, businesses, and non-profit organizations.