U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated on Friday in the third Copenhagen Democracy Summit that the United States supports Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA), saying Taiwan's presence will be "useful" to the global community at a time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After addressing the summit through video conferencing, Pompeo took questions from Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the host of the summit, on whether Taiwan will be allowed to participate in international organizations like the WHA.
Pompeo said it was both appropriate and important for Taiwan to join the WHA at least as an observer.
Taiwan has "a great deal of knowledge to handle the coronavirus very very well. They have high end technology, high end pharmaceutical capability, and high end scientists," Pompeo said.
Pompeo added that it will be "very useful" for Taiwan to be part of the conversation of how the world is going to respond to the pandemic.
Pompeo, who praised Taiwan's capability in containing the virus, said the U.S. among many other countries had made plenty of efforts to push for Taiwan's participation in the WHA.
Pompeo added the WHA has scheduled another meeting in November and it will be both appropriate and important for Taiwan to join the meeting then.
Taiwan, whose formal name is the Republic of China, was expelled from the United Nations in 1971 and from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1972.
Since then, Taiwan has not been able to participate in the WHA, except for 2009-2016, when it attended as an observer through an invitation from the WHO, amid warm relations between Taipei and Beijing during those years under the previous Taiwanese administration.
Rasmussen said Taiwan is a beacon of democracy in the world and served as a contrast to communist China.
Rasmussen's questions for Pompeo focused on Washington's challenges posted by Beijing, including the drafting of the national security law approved by China's rubber stamp National People's Congress for Hong Kong last month, which has raised concerns that the former British colony's autonomous status might be threatened.
In response, Pompeo cited U.S. President Donald Trump as saying that if China treats Hong Kong just as any other Chinese city, there is no reason for the U.S. to treat the city differently, indicating Washington may remove the special treatment for Hong Kong that it provides based on American laws.
When asked about his closed-door meeting with Chinese Communist Party Office of Foreign Affairs Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) in Hawaii on Wednesday, Pompeo said they talked about a wide range of topics including what China has done in Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang and India as well as its objections to Australia probing the origin of COVID-19, which first broke out in Wuhan, central China late last year.
"It is no longer enough to listen to what the Chinese communist Party is saying. We consider actions," Pompeo said.
The Copenhagen Democracy Summit was organized by the Alliance of Democracies, a non-governmental organization established in 2017 by Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister and former NATO secretary-general.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also addressed the summit through a video earlier Friday, emphasizing Taiwan's responsibility to help the rest of the world become free.