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The US office in charge of trade relations with Taiwan has confirmed that US Secretary of Health Alex Azar will head the delegation that will visit the island that Beijing considers a rebel province called to return one day in the fold of Communist China.
“This marks (…) the first visit by a member of the government in six years“said the American Institute in Taiwan, adding that no member of the US government of such high rank has visited”since 1979“.
It was that year that Washington had chosen to recognize China, and to stop recognizing Taipei.
Taiwan confirmed the next visit, specifying that Mr. Azar would meet the Taiwanese ministers of foreign affairs and health on this occasion.
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“Minister Azar is a longtime close friend of Taiwan“, the ministry commented in a statement, specifying that this visit was”proof of the solid foundations of mutual trust“between Washington and Taipei.
Neither Taiwan nor the United States has specified the date of this visit.
The United States remains Taiwan’s primary arms supplier but has traditionally been cautious about the nature of official bilateral contacts, but this has changed since the election of Donald Trump who has moved closer to Taiwan as relations have grown. degraded with Beijing.
The last visit to Taiwan by a member of the US government was in 2014 by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The previous one dated back to 2000, when Bill Clinton’s Transportation Secretary visited the island.