Taiwan has donated US$700,000 to two APEC sub-funds to highlight the importance of health and technology amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
Taiwan has been a member of APEC since joining the 21-member organization under the name “Chinese Taipei” in 1991.
Malaysia, the host for all APEC meetings this year, has informed member states that the second senior officials’ meeting, scheduled for June 15 to 28, is to be postponed due to the pandemic, Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen (陳龍錦) told a regular news briefing in Taipei.
However, a virtual extraordinary senior officials’ meeting for discussing the coronavirus is to be held today, at which local officials are to share the “Taiwan model” for containing the coronavirus, he added.
Chen in February led a delegation to the first senior officials’ meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Earlier this month, Taiwan donated US$500,000 to APEC’s Human Security Sub-Fund and US$200,000 to its Digital Innovation Sub-Fund, he said.
The purpose of the donations was to increase members’ awareness of the pandemic’s effects on human security, highlight the importance of health for economic growth and free trade in the Asia-Pacific region, and promote the use of digital technology in fighting pandemics, he said.
Representatives from Taiwan were invited to participate in five videoconferences organized by APEC’s Business Advisory Council, Chen said, adding that Acer Inc (宏碁) chairman Jason Chen (陳俊聖), Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) president Jamie Lin (林之晨) and Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦) chief technology officer Ted Chang (張嘉淵) were appointed as presidential delegates to the meetings.
The first three meetings were held on May 14, May 15 and Tuesday last week, while the remaining two are to be held on Thursday and June 24, Bob Chen added.
In the videoconferences, Jason Chen explained how Acer has helped the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) install disease information systems and called on APEC to attach more importance to cybersecurity by setting up protocols to combat cyberattacks, Bob Chen said.
Chang drew attention to changes and business opportunities brought about by the pandemic, such as increased attention to digital infrastructure, transnational tracking systems and long-distance medical care systems, Bob Chen added.
The pandemic has also fostered a so-called “contactless economy,” which relies on 5G infrastructure, big data, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to renovate existing industrial chains, he said.
Lin shared how the nation’s five major telecoms, including Taiwan Mobile, have worked with the CDC to set up “digital fencing” to track returning citizens and foreign tourists required to undergo a 14-day home isolation, as well as a system to broadcast instant messages to maintain contact with them, he said.
Jason Chen and Lin asked Pell Biomed Technology (沛爾生技醫藥) founder Steve Lin (林成龍) and KKday CEO Ming Chen (陳明明) to serve as their deputies, participating in sessions they could not attend, Bob Chen added.
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