U.S. health chief to visit Taiwan, likely angering China

U.S. health chief to visit Taiwan, likely angering China

Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks throughout a information convention within the briefing room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar will visit Taiwan in coming days, his workplace stated on Tuesday, making the highest-level visit by a U.S. official in 4 a long time in a transfer likely to anger China, which claims the island as its personal.

During his visit, Azar will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry stated in a separate assertion.

China describes Taiwan as essentially the most delicate difficulty in Sino-U.S. ties, and Azar’s visit will in all probability additional inflame already poor Beijing-Washington relations.

“Taiwan has been a mannequin of transparency and cooperation in international health through the Covid-19 pandemic and lengthy earlier than it,” Azar stated in an announcement.

“I look ahead to conveying President Trump‘s assist for Taiwan’s international health management and underscoring our shared perception that free and democratic societies are the perfect mannequin for shielding and selling health.”

His division, describing the journey as “historic”, stated Azar can be accompanied by Mitchell Wolfe, chief medical officer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and different members of the administration.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry stated the visit confirmed the agency U.S. assist for Taiwan and the closeness of their relationship.

Taiwan has been particularly grateful for U.S. assist for its requests to get significant entry to the World Health Organization through the pandemic.

Taiwan shouldn’t be a member due to Chinese objections; Beijing considers the island merely considered one of China’s provinces.

The United States, like most nations, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, having ditched Taipei in favour of Beijing in 1979, however is its predominant arms provider and strongest backer on the worldwide stage.

Gina McCarthy, then-head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was the final U.S. Cabinet-level official to visit the island, in 2014. Her place is technically lower-ranking than Azar’s.

Taiwan has received reward for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, having stored its case numbers low due to efficient and early prevention steps.

The United States has extra coronavirus circumstances and deaths than some other nation.

In April, Azar held a teleconference with Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, whom he can even meet on his journey.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a brand new regulation in March requiring elevated assist for Taiwan’s worldwide function. China threatened unspecified retaliation in response.

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