onsdag 5. august 2020

US health chief to make most senior visit to Taiwan in decades

United States Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will lead a delegation to Taiwan, his office announced Tuesday, in a high-level trip that is almost certain to anger Beijing, which claims the self-governing island as part of its territory. The trip, scheduled "in the coming days," will be the highest level visit by any US Cabinet official to the island since 1979, when Washington broke official ties with Taiwan to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing, said a statement from the US Health and Human Services (HHS) Department.

The high-profile trip is likely to worsen relations between Beijing-Washington, which have nosedived this year to their lowest point in decades. For years, tensions and rivalries have simmered between the world's two largest economies over trade, technology and geopolitics, but the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a further blow to their already strained ties.

During his visit, Azar will meet with senior Taiwan counterparts, Covid-19 responders and experts on behalf of US President Donald Trump to discuss the global pandemic response, US-Taiwan partnership and the island's role as a "reliable global supplier of medical equipment and critical technology," according to the statement.