Today, October 10, 2020, the Republic of China in Taiwan celebrates its 109th national day. As the Representative of Taipei Representative Office in Greece, I am honored to write this article to share some information with the distinguished readers of Defense-Point.
By Ambassador Sherman Kuo
Representative of Taipei Representative Office in Greece
On January 11, Taiwan enjoyed a record 75 percent turnout in the presidential election, drawing international attention to its commitment to democracy and freedom as more than 14 million voters cast their ballots. The reelection of President Tsai Ing-wen by more than 8.17 million votes set a record high in the country’s electoral history. Taiwan has demonstrated its democratic vitality in the international arena, receiving unprecedented levels of support from countries around the world.
At the end of 2019 a novel form of pneumonia that has been classified as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused a global pandemic. Taiwan’s robust democratic mechanisms and high civic consciousness have enhanced mutual trust between government and people and allowed Taiwan to effectively contain the spread of this pandemic through advance deployment and the provision of open and transparent information. As of October 7, Taiwan had 523 confirmed cases and seven related deaths, compared to more than 35 million confirmed cases and one million related deaths worldwide.
From April, with the global pandemic worsening, the Taiwanese government announced it was launching donations of antipandemic supplies to severely affected countries out of humanitarian concern. By the end of August, Taiwan had donated more than 54 million medical masks, 1.16 million N95 masks, as well as many other items to over 80 countries.
Nevertheless, many Taiwanese citizens also donated the masks allotted to them under a name-based rationing system. These voluntary contributions had exceeded 6.3 million masks by the end of August. Yes, Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping!
While successfully containing the spread of COVID-19, Taiwanese government has also implemented relief and revitalization measures and stepped up public infrastructure projects. Indeed, having registered 0.78 percent economy growth in the first half of 2020, and with a projection of 1.56 percent growth for the year as a whole. International trade and investment of Taiwan were stable between January and July, with trade surpluses of US$26.7 billion.
As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan has actively contributed its strengths to such areas as humanitarian assistance, public health, and climate change. President Tsai has reiterated on numerous occasions that as long as it benefits both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan is willing to resume cordial interactions with China under the principles of peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan will continue to stand united with like-minded nations in safeguarding regional peace and stability, serving as a bastion of freedom and democracy in the Indo-Pacific.
Nowadays, our democratic values are being challenged at many levels, but democracy will always be the sole winner. Now more than ever, we are reminded that we must remain ever vigilant and stand our ground against any attempt from anyone who tries to deprive us of what we hold most dear: our right to exist, to think, to defend ourselves against any internal or external threat.
Freedom and democracy are part of Taiwan’s DNA. They constitute the fundamental and common values that connect Taiwan to the international community. Taiwan, this towering beacon of democracy, will continue to shine the light of freedom and democracy across the globe.