Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has stated that its bilateral policy with Singapore will be based on official statements made by the two countries and will not be influenced by statements by individuals.
This is in light of the backlash by Taiwanese netizens over a Facebook post made by Mdm Ho Ching, wife of Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday where she wrote, “Errrr…” in regards to a news article that states Taiwan is donating face-masks to Singapore.
Taiwanese netizens have asked Mdm Ho to explain the meaning of her post and said that if Singapore is not interested in the donated masks, it can reject the offer.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Baushuan Ger has earlier said that a second wave of mask donation will go to the countries covered by its New Southbound Policy which had requested for mask supplies.
In response to the countries who informed of Taiwan of their need for masks, Mr Ger noted that it will supply around one million masks to those seven countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam and others.
Taiwan’s MFA shared that it had engaged in discussions with Singapore authorities after it made public of its intended assistance on providing masks. It added that the initial response from the Singapore authorities has been positive.
In its statement issued on Sunday afternoon, it also shared that as the global COVID-19 pandemic escalate in situation, the production of face masks in Taiwan is also being increased and the country will continue to support international frontline medical workers within its manageable limits.
This is why the Taiwan’s MFA announced on 9 April that it will carry out its second wave of face masks assistance towards its important partners in the south.
It pointed out that Singapore is Taiwan’s important international ally. The country has been cooperating closely on various matters and people of the two countries are intimate with one another. It will publicly announce details of the discussion with Singapore on the assistance if there is a conclusion.
It also said that Singapore government has also shifted two production lines in Taiwan back to the country for local production and since there is no ban on exporting of mask manufacturing equipment, the production lines have already been successfully shifted back to Singapore.
After the Singapore equipment was sent back, Taiwan’s production continued to increase as according to its goal of 15 million pieces of masks a day.
Other than being the spouse of the Prime Minister, Mdm Ho is also the Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings which owns majority shares of Singapore Technologies Engineering that owns the two production lines that were sent back to Singapore.
The production lines produce Air+ N95 masks and not surgical masks.
As of the publication of this article, Mdm Ho’s post has been shared over 1.1k times and attracted over 2.8k comments from Singaporeans and Taiwanese citizens.