In what is the highest-level visit by a US official in decades, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar will lead a delegation to Taiwan.
Azar is the first Cabinet member to visit in six years, and the highest-level visit by a U.S. Cabinet official since 1979.
“Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “I look forward to conveying President Trump’s support for Taiwan’s global health leadership and underscoring our shared belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health. This trip represents an opportunity to strengthen our economic and public health cooperation with Taiwan, especially as the United States and other countries work to strengthen and diversify our sources for crucial medical products.”
Of course, this is all presented as cooperation in the face of COVID-19, not that the US doesn’t need any assistance it can get.
In 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Taiwan Travel Act, and this visit is part of America’s policy of sending high-level U.S. officials to Taiwan to reaffirm the U.S.-Taiwan friendship, pursue shared interests, and celebrate the shared values that bond the United States and Taiwan to the international family of democracies.
In a very obvious stab at China, the statement of the visit, furthermore, makes a contrast between free societies such as the US and Taiwan, China.
“In contrast to authoritarian systems, U.S. and Taiwan societies and economies are uniquely equipped to drive global progress in areas such as medicine and science to help the world tackle emerging threats. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent example of joint U.S.-Taiwan efforts to confront global challenges for the good of the world.”
This goes directly in spite of all the humanitarian aid China has provided all around the world, following the beginning of the pandemic.
The Secretary will be joined by Ambassador (ret) James F. Moriarty, Chairman of the Board of the American Institute in Taiwan; Dr. Mitchell Wolfe, Chief Medical Officer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Brian Harrison, HHS Chief of Staff; Garrett Grigsby, Director of the HHS Office of Global Affairs; and other members of the Administration.
China is unlikely to welcome this visit, as the US is using Taiwan as yet another direction of pressure against Beijing. Washington’s attempts
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