U.S. health chief offers Taiwan 'strong' support in landmark visit

U.S. health chief offers Taiwan 'strong' support in landmark visit

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (R) gestures to US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar during his visit to the Presidential Office in Taipei on August 10, 2020. U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar offered President Donald Trump's strong support for democratic Taiwan on Monday, telling President Tsai Ing-wen that her government's response to the coronavirus pandemic had been among the world's best. Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday as the highest-level U.S. official to visit in four decades, a trip condemned by China which claims the island as its own, further irritating Sino-U.S. relations. China has promised unspecified retaliation to Azar's trip. Washington broke off official ties with Taipei in 1979 in favor of Beijing. The Trump administration has made strengthening its support for the democratic island a priority, and boosted arms sales. "It's a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump to Taiwan," Azar told Tsai in the Presidential Office, standing in front of two Taiwanese flags. Azar is visiting to strengthen economic and public-health cooperation with Taiwan and support Taiwan's international role in fighting the pandemic. "Taiwan's response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan's society and culture," he told Tsai. Taiwan's early and effective steps to fight the disease have kept its case numbers far lower than those of its neighbors ...
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