Remarks by HHS Secretary Alex Azar at CECC/MOU Press Conference
August 10, 2020
(as prepared for delivery)
Thank you, Minister Chen, for welcoming me to the CECC today, and thank you everyone for the warm welcome I have had here so far.
This visit was a wonderful opportunity to learn about Taiwan’s world-class response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I understand that Minister Chen has, like myself, become accustomed to doing a great deal more press conferences this year than usual. We may have to share some tips with each other.
That would be in keeping with the close relationship that Taiwan and the United States have had on health cooperation for decades. Together, we have more than 20 years of a robust and wide-ranging public health relationship from the SARS outbreak response to cancer research, vaccine research and regional information sharing efforts.
I have also enjoyed and appreciated my dialogue with Minister Chen on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly, where the United States has aggressively pressed for the last four years to restore Taiwan’s role as an observer.
The SARS outbreak response, when Taiwan’s CDC and the U.S. CDC worked so closely together, primed both Taiwan and the United States with lessons for the COVID-19 response.
The CECC itself is an impressive example of the hard learned lessons Taiwan took from SARS, building a robust response structure that has helped protect Taiwan during COVID-19.
I want to congratulate Minister Chen, his team of public health professionals, and everyone in Taiwan on the success of the Taiwan model.
You have not only applied the best science and public health methods to confronting COVID-19; you have brought the open and democratic spirit that defines Taiwan to this response.
Taiwan’s CDC has consistently shared information through the International Health Regulations Focal Point system, enabling the sharing of health information throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Today, I am pleased that TECRO and AIT have signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize the more than 20 years of collaboration between my department and the Ministry of Health and Welfare on a wide range of issues.
Minister Chen and I also just signed a statement reaffirming our longstanding cooperation to address health challenges, including COVID-19.
As we look ahead to health threats in the future, the United States and Taiwan will continue to strengthen our cooperation on health, relying on the commonsense goals of transparency and openness that define successful health efforts.
Thank you again, Minister Chen, for your close partnership with the United States and for sharing the lessons of Taiwan’s success today.
This Official Text is also available on the AIT website at https://www.ait.org.tw/category/speeches/.