Azar leads highest-level US delegation to Taiwan in decades

  • The Associated Press

(Taipei, Taiwan)  —  U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has arrived in Taiwan in the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break in formal diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979.

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

Azar is due to meet with the island’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen along with health officials during his three-day visit aimed at highlighting cooperation against the coronavirus.

Azar’s visit was facilitated by the 2018 passage of the Taiwan Travel Act, which encouraged Washington to send higher-level officials to Taiwan after decades during which such contacts were rare.

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