Taiwan sends Poland half a million masks in gesture of solidarity


A cargo of half a million surgical masks sent by the Taiwanese authorities as a sign of solidarity during the coronavirus epidemic has arrived in Warsaw under the auspices of the 'Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping' campaign.

The head of the Taipei Representative Office in Poland, Weber Ven-bin Shih, told PAP on Friday that sending masks to European countries was an ad hoc part of the campaign, but expressed his hope there would be further gestures.

"Taiwan, itself, has a lack of masks, so further help of that type is not certain, however we hope for an extension of cooperation with Europe in other dimensions of the fight against the epidemic," Ven-Bin Shih said. Taiwan is currently in talks with Poland over further cooperation.

Ven-Bin Shih said that apart from the obvious sanitary aim, the sending of masks was symbolically significant. Taiwan wants to express its admiration and respect for Polish health service workers who are on "the first front of the battle with the virus."

In addition, the mask delivery expresses Taiwan's solidarity with Poland, strengthened during the difficult situation in which both countries find themselves, and forms part of the 'Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping' campaign aimed at showing the international community that Taiwan is a valuable member of the international system and is in a position to help measurably in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

The cargo of medical equipment was organised entirely by the Representative Office of Taipei in Poland. Its recipients are the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Health and the Asia Pacific Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ven-Bin Shih said Taiwan would not interfere in the use of the equipment sent. Issues of the masks' distribution rest entirely with the Polish side.