U.S. sends Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Wong to Taiwan

Visit comes only days after President Trump signed Taiwan Travel Act

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The U.S. Department of State (Source: AP)

The U.S. Department of State (Source: AP)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Only days after United States President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, his administration is sending Alex Wong (黃之瀚), the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Bureau, to the island nation, reports said Tuesday.

The Taiwan Travel Act will allow senior government officials from Taiwan and the United States to visit each other’s country and hold meetings.

Wong, a former top foreign policy adviser to Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, will spend March 20-22 in Taiwan, the Liberty Times reported.

The State Department official is flying to Taipei after attending a meeting in Singapore and is scheduled to address the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei’s annual Lunar New Year event, known as the Hsieh Nien Fan Banquet, scheduled for Wednesday. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would reportedly also attend.

Wong was scheduled to hold talks with “Taiwanese officials” about Taiwan-U.S. relations, but the reports did not reveal whom he would meet.

The American Institute in Taiwan, the U.S. body representing its government in the absence of formal relations, said Wong’s visit had been planned long before the signing of the Taiwan Travel Act, while he was not the highest U.S. official to travel to the island in recent years either.

Center for Strategic and International Studies senior Asia adviser Bonnie Glaser said that as China continued to increase political, military and economic pressure on Taiwan and thus threatened U.S. interests in the region, it should come as no surprise that the Trump Administration was seeking to strengthen its relations with the island, the Liberty Times reported.