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Azar leads highest-level US delegation to Taiwan in decades

Beijing has already protested Azar’s go to as a betrayal of U.S. commitments to not have official contact with the island that China claims as its personal territory.

Editor’s observe: The video above is from July 23, 2020.

U.S. Well being and Human Companies Secretary Alex Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday within the highest-level go to by an American Cupboard official for the reason that break in formal diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. 

Beijing has already protested Azar’s go to as a betrayal of U.S. commitments to not have official contact with the island. China claims Taiwan as its personal territory, to be introduced beneath its management by army pressure if needed. 

Azar is because of meet with the island’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen together with well being officers throughout a three-day go to geared toward highlighting cooperation within the struggle towards the coronavirus. 

Taiwan’s government-run well being care system has been credited with conserving the variety of coronavirus circumstances to beneath 500 with simply seven deaths, regardless of its shut proximity to China the place the virus originated. 

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China sees Taiwan as a key key irritant in its troubled relationship with Washington, with whom additionally it is at odds over commerce, know-how, the South China Sea and China’s response to the virus pandemic. 

The U.S. maintains solely unofficial ties with Taiwan in deference to Beijing, however is the island’s most vital ally and supplier of protection tools. 

Azar is the primary well being secretary to go to Taiwan and the primary Cupboard member to go to in six years. In 2014, then-Environmental Safety Company administrator Gina McCarthy visited Taiwan, sparking protests from Beijing. 

Azar’s workplace mentioned he’ll maintain discussions on COVID-19, international well being and Taiwan’s function as a provider of medical tools and know-how

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Azar’s go to was facilitated by the 2018 passage of the Taiwan Journey Act, which inspired Washington to ship higher-level officers to Taiwan after a long time throughout which such contacts have been uncommon and freighted with safeguards to keep away from roiling ties with Beijing. 

China has minimize contacts with Tsai over her refusal to acknowledge China’s declare to the island and has introduced growing diplomatic, financial and army strain towards her, together with by poaching away a number of of its remaining diplomatic allies and excluding it from worldwide gatherings together with the World Well being Meeting. That, in flip, has elevated already appreciable bipartisan sympathy for Taipei in Washington and prompted new measures to strengthen governmental and army ties.

Additionally Sunday, Taiwanese International Minister Joseph Wu met with the primary consultant of Somaliland to the island forward of the territory’s opening of a consultant workplace in Taipei. 

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Wu earlier tweeted that Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud had “braved Chinese language strain” — a reference to stories that China had sought to dam relations between Taiwan and the area on the Horn of Africa that broke from the remainder of Somalia however shouldn’t be acknowledged by the United Nations as an impartial nation. 

“The very fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t on the market’ deserves worldwide recognition,” Wu tweeted.

On his arrival, Mahamoud tweeted that “We’re prepared to ascertain good relations with all international locations – these we share values of democracy are particular.”

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