U.S. and Taiwan health ministers hold unprecedented meeting in Washington

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung is on his way back to Taiwan

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U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar (left) with Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (photo from twitter.com/secazar).

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar (left) with Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (photo from twitter.com/secazar). (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) held an unprecedented meeting with his United States counterpart, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, in Washington, D.C., reports said Thursday.

Ties between the two countries have markedly improved over the past months, with the U.S. adopting legislation which allows for higher-level meetings between government members from both sides, while during a recent stopover in the U.S., President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited a U.S. government body, NASA headquarters in Houston, Texas.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said the fact that the meeting took place in the U.S. capital was of great significance and would contribute to practical cooperation.

Azar posted a picture of him with Chen in his Twitter account, with the text “Great meeting today with Chen Shih-chung, Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare,” the Central News Agency reported.

Ministry officials said the meeting had been planned two or three months ago, and Chen’s trip also included a visit to a workshop at Duke University.

As the minister was on the flight back to Taiwan Thursday, officials said they would let him explain the content and results of his meeting upon his return. Cooperation against diseases and disaster prevention were believed to form part of the topics discussed, according to the CNA report.