Deputy Minister Kao, Deputy Minister Lin, distinguished guests, and friends: good afternoon.
I am pleased to be with you here today to help recognize Taiwan’s contribution of protective equipment to the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Ebola situation remains grave. To date, over 15,000 people in West Africa are believed to have contracted the Ebola virus, and more than 5,400 have died from the disease. While we have seen recent progress, new cases in Mali within the past two weeks show that we must remain vigilant and committed to global efforts to contain and respond to this humanitarian crisis. We must continue to have trained healthcare professionals on the scene to treat cases and prevent the outbreak’s further spread. And we need to ensure that these health care workers have the equipment and supplies they need to do their jobs.
In line with our global responsibilities and commitments, the United States has played a leading role in coordinating the international Ebola response. From the outset we recognized that cooperation with partners around the world would be pivotal to the success of a response, and we began to work with Taiwan to assess the possibility of a contribution to the effort. With its advanced economy, world class medical system, and experience in responding to pandemic illnesses, we knew that Taiwan could be a very important partner.
Taiwan authorities have demonstrated in recent years a willingness to help neighbors and friends in times of crisis. The United States has been proud to partner with Taiwan in several of these efforts, such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake and last year’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In both of these cases, Taiwan was able quickly to mobilize resources and make positive contributions. The Taiwan people’s spirit of volunteerism earned the respect and gratitude of the international community in the process.
In making this important donation of personal protective equipment here today, Taiwan has overcome a wide range of logistical obstacles, and our friends in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health and Welfare have worked patiently and persistently with us every step of the way to find solutions. Our success in making this donation happen is a reflection of Taiwan’s determination to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. These contributions – which will travel far from these shores – help earn Taiwan the respect and appreciation it deserves in the international community for being a net contributor to global challenges.
Throughout the process of coordinating today’s donation my colleagues and I at AIT have been in close and continuous contact with our colleagues on the front lines in West Africa. They have made it very clear that the protective gear Taiwan is donating today will be extremely valuable in the Ebola response effort.
On behalf of the United States, I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Taiwan people for this important donation. My colleagues at AIT and I are proud to have partnered with you in this effort.