The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries.
The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.
After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter.
Photo: Sam Yeh / AFP
“We thank the people of Taiwan for their generous support and collaboration as we continue our fight against the coronavirus pandemic,” it said in a retweet of a Reuters report on the donations, adding the hashtag “FreeAndOpenIndoPacific.”
Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that the Vatican, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, was among the recipients.
Taiwan’s embassy in the Holy See would help distribute the masks to members of the clergy, including the Camillian order, with which Catholic Father Giuseppe Didone, who is based in Yilan County, is affiliated, Ou said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yeh Yu-lan (葉毓蘭) on Thursday accused the government of using the masks for lavish diplomacy instead of helping people in urgent need.
Didone had previously asked Taiwan for help.
The nation thanks the Catholic Church and its clergy for their dedication and service in Taiwan, and the ministry will help deliver the medical supplies collected by domestic Catholic groups, Ou said, adding that lawmakers should understand the facts before commenting.
Separately, Palauan Representative to the UN Ngedikes Olai Uludong thanked Taiwan, saying that it is the only country that has helped Palau amid the pandemic.
“Palau has been asking the global community for help and NO one responded except Taiwan! Thank you so much. Friends indeed!” Uludong wrote on Twitter.
Palau, one of four countries in the South Pacific that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, has not recorded any COVID-19 cases to date, although an American who visited Palau early last month displayed symptoms when she arrived.
Physicians from Shin Kong Memorial Wu Ho-Su Hospital in Taipei used online video conferencing to instruct local doctors on how to take samples from the visitor, a 73-year-old health worker.
Her samples were sent to Taiwan to be tested, with the results coming back negative for COVID-19.
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