The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 19 took to Twitter to congratulate Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen on re-election. Pompeo praised the country’s coronavirus response and also called it a ‘reliable partner’. In a reported statement, Pompeo also added that the United States has a shared vision for the region, one that includes the rule of law, transparency, prosperity and security for all.
While China views Tsai as a separatist, bent on formal independence for Taiwan, Pompeo reportedly said that recent COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the international community to see why Taiwan’s pandemic-response model is worthy of emulation. According to an international media outlet, Tsai will assume office for the second and final term on May 20. At her inauguration, Tsai will reportedly also say that Taiwan will seek to ‘actively participate’ in international bodies and deepen its cooperation with ‘like-minded countries’.
Congratulations to Dr. Tsai Ing-wen on the commencement of your second-term as Taiwan’s President. Taiwan’s vibrant democracy is an inspiration to the region and the world. With President Tsai at the helm, our partnership with Taiwan will continue to flourish.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 19, 2020
Meanwhile, as Taiwan had been seeking to join a ministerial meeting this month of the WHO’s decision-making body, the organisation had locked Taiwan out, at China’s request. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province under its ‘one China’ policy and also believes that Taiwan’s efforts are based on politics and not health concerns. However, the United States has been supporting the island nation and had also said that Taiwan’s resources and expertise are ‘assets’ that could benefit the world.
Despite Taiwan's proximity and close commercial links with mainland China, Taiwan has enjoyed remarkable success in combatting the pandemic, with only seven deaths and some 400 COVID-19 cases. Earlier this week, the United States also condemned Taiwan's exclusion from the World Health Assembly saying that WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus chose not to invite the country under pressure from China.
Pompeo in a statement said, “The United States condemns Taiwan's exclusion from the World Health Assembly. At a time when the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, we need multilateral institutions to deliver on their stated missions and to serve the interests of all member states, not to play politics while lives are at stake”.