Dozens of countries have thanked Taiwan for its pledge to donate surgical masks. President Tsai Ing-wen announced Wednesday that Taiwan will send 10 million masks to countries stricken by the virus, including the U.S., U.K., several EU nations, and Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.
Dozens of representative offices, as well as the U.S. State Department, have conveyed appreciation for the gesture of goodwill. For the first time, the president of the European Commission addressed Taiwan directly in a message of thanks. On Wednesday, Taiwan pledged to help the international community fight COVID-19. One after the other, countries hit hard by the virus have thanked Taiwan on social media. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen posted a message early morning on Thursday. She said that in the face of the global virus, the world needed solidarity and cooperation. She said that gestures like Taiwan’s donation show that we are “stronger together.”The head of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan also took to Twitter. He wrote: “#Taiwanhelps is the new hashtag. Thank you, Taiwan!”The Belgian Office in Taipei posted a photo of three Smurfs – Belgium’s iconic cartoon export – posing with a surgical mask. The post thanked President Tsai for donating 10 million medical masks, a large fraction of which will go to European countries. British Office Taipei also thanked Taiwan for its generous offer. The Netherlands, where there is a dire shortage of masks, thanked Taiwan for sharing resources in the world’s most difficult hour. On Twitter, Acting Head of Polish Office in Taipei Bartosz Rys thanked Taiwan for offering“a much appreciated and generous gift in these difficult times.”The U.S. has also conveyed its appreciation. American Institute in Taiwan Director Brett Christensen paid a call on health minister Chen Shih-chung at the Central Epidemic Command Center on Wednesday. The AIT thanked Taiwan in a social media post that signed off with the hashtag #RealFriendsRealProgress.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that in this first round of international aid, 7 million masks will be given to European countries. They include EU member states such as Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and Belgium, where the epidemic is severe. Two million masks will go to the U.S., with half going to the federal government and the rest going to individual states. One million masks will go to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. It’s a donation that will reach a wide range of countries. Using surplus production, Taiwan is supporting countries in need and raising its international profile.