Former NATO chief praises Taiwan for its coronavirus prevention

Former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has publicly urged the international community to include Taiwan in global health discussions amid the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, defying what he termed “Beijing’s geopolitical obsessions” to block the island nation’s participation.

“The global health community could have learned from Taiwan’s experience,” wrote the Danish politician and former NATO secretary-general in a TIME op-ed published on Wednesday (March 18). “But in recent years its (Taiwan’s) world-class health specialists have been shut out in the cold by Beijing’s geopolitical obsessions,” he said.

He added the Chinese government has “bullied the world’s multilateral institutions” into obstructing Taiwan’s access since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took power in 2016.

Rasmussen commended the Taiwanese authorities for their swift and effective response to deal with the coronavirus virus, thus preventing an out-of-control outbreak and panic in society. The former NATO chief said the world could benefit by following some of the measures implemented by the Taiwanese government to combat the virus, such as making effective use of technology to solve problems.

“We cannot afford geopolitical ‘blackholes,’” said Rasmussen, urging world leaders to re-consider the cost the international community has paid for allowing Beijing to exclude Taiwan. “We need Taiwan in the room, helping to shape the global policy with its highly educated, industrialized and high-tech expertise.”