- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued renewed support for Taiwan’s coronavirus response and praised Taiwan as a reliable partner, just one day after sharply criticizing the World Health Organization for not allowing it observer status at its virtual meeting this week.

The praise marks a sharp contrast from ongoing finger-pointing between the U.S. and China, which claims Taiwan as a territory.

“The United States has long considered Taiwan a force for good in the world and a reliable partner,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement.

“We have a shared vision for the region — one that includes rule of law, transparency, prosperity, and security for all. The recent COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the international community to see why Taiwan’s pandemic-response model is worthy of emulation.”

With a population of 23.7 million, Taiwan has reported 440 confirmed cases of COVID-19, seven deaths and 401 recoveries.

Mr. Pompeo on Monday claimed the WHO’s organization’s director yielded to “pressure” from China not to invite the Taiwanese to this week’s annual assembly.

The United States “condemns Taiwan’s exclusion” from the annual World Health Assembly, Mr. Pompeo said in a statement, adding that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus “had every legal power and precedent to include Taiwan.”

Mr. Pompeo suggested Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO virtual assembly that began Monday was a fresh example of the organization’s kowtowing to China, which has long claimed Taiwan has no independence and is under Chinese sovereign control — despite the island’s independence as a democracy.

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