USA health secretary arrives in Taiwan

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's planned visit to Taiwan is not inconsistent with previous US policy says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Exclusive: Taiwan in talks to make first purchase of sophisticated U.S. drones

President Donald Trump and members of his administration have criticized China for its lack of transparency in dealing with the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, and the USA president continues to call it the "China virus".

TAIPEI, Taiwan-U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday in the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break in formal diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. China has made stern representations to the US Beijing and Washington. On Monday, he will sign a health cooperation memorandum of understanding with Taiwan's government and visit Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control.

As Breitbart News reported, Secretary Azar will meet with senior Taiwan counterparts, coronavirus responders and experts on behalf of U.S. President Donald Trump. They all have tested negative for COVID-19 and took a private plane, Health Minister Chen noted.

In the recent past, Azar was highly criticized for his role in the sluggish role in the United States response in the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore replaced by the Vice-President as task force leader to combat the coronavirus.

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Douglas Paal, who headed the American Institute in Taiwan during George W. Bush's presidency, said that the Trump administration was still paying heed to China's red line - that no United States official handling national security visit Taiwan.

The date of Azar's visit has not been announced, only that it will happen in coming days. The US arms sales seriously violate the "one China" principle, Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing on Friday.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have soured significantly since Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party were elected in 2016, followed by a landslide reelection early this year.

The SeaGuardian surveillance drones have a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,100 km), far greater than the 160-mile range of Taiwan's current fleet of drones, potentially giving the island greater capacity to peer into China, observing its air force, missiles and other facilities.

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Being the strongest coronavirus test, she added that no re-tests have been needed due to the accuracy of the PCR test. DeWine said the state will continue efforts to expand both rapid-result and conventional coronavirus testing.


He is also scheduled to meet President Tsai Ing-wen during his visit.

Taiwan's success was noted on Friday's broadcast of "The McLaughlin Group", when Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page praised Azar's visit, citing the differences between how Taiwan and China handled the coronavirus outbreak, and the latter's lack of transparency and deceit as to the extent of the crisis.

"U.S. -Taiwan relations should not be captive to U.S. -PRC trade, as Taiwan's important enough on its own", King added. The Chinese government has also denounced the U.S.'s increased support of Taiwan in recent years.

Either way, the timing of the visit appears highly symbolic.

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In the past two years, there has been continuous tension between the United States and China over the trade and Chinese Technologies companies.

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