TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has called China a “global trouble maker” in its latest riposte against Beijing’s criticism of a planned visit by Alex Azar, U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, to Taiwan next week.
“The Chinese government has become a global trouble maker” since its deliberate concealment of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has sickened 18 million and killed 700,000 people, said MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Thursday (Aug. 6) during a press briefing. Beijing’s military activities in the region have also created instability, alerting Taiwan, Japan, India, and other countries, she added.
Ou said China should stop interfering with Taiwan as the island nation advances ties with other countries. Instead, Chinese authorities should see why the international community has developed a dislike for its handling of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement and national security legislation, as well as their oppression of the Uighur people in Xinjiang Province, stated the spokesperson.
“[I] Will visit #Taiwan in the coming days to convey @POTUS’s support for their global health leadership and to underscore our shared belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health,” tweeted Azar on Wednesday. "This trip represents an opportunity to strengthen our economic and public health cooperation with Taiwan."
Will visit #Taiwan in the coming days to convey @POTUS’s support for their global health leadership and to underscore our shared belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health.— Secretary Alex Azar (@SecAzar) August 5, 2020
The trip to Taiwan by Azar next week will mark the highest-level visit by a U.S. official since the two countries severed diplomatic relations in 1979. It will also be the first U.S. Cabinet official to visit Taiwan during the tenure of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the ministry has filed a protest against U.S. authorities, according to a transcript of the ministry’s press briefing on Wednesday. “The Taiwan issue has been the most sensitive one between the China-U.S. relations,” said Wang.
He then urged the U.S. to stop all official contact with Taiwanese authorities so as not to deliver “a wrong message” to “Taiwan’s independence forces.”
"[Azar is] going there with a deep and important purpose. We're still in a global pandemic," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday about the health official’s planned trip to Taiwan. “He'll go there and talk to them about public health issues as they relate to how we all move forward with respect to how we handle Covid and the opportunity for therapeutics and a vaccine,” stated Pompeo, stressing that Azar’s visit is in line with U.S. policy toward Taiwan.
Tsai, who is expected to meet with the U.S. delegation next week, took to social media to welcome Azar. “Your timely visit is another testament to the strong Taiwan-U.S. partnership based on our longstanding friendship & shared values,” tweeted Tsai.
I look forward to welcoming @SecAzar to #Taiwan & sharing how the #TaiwanModel works to contain the spread of #COVID19 & contribute to global health. Your timely visit is another testament to the strong Taiwan-US partnership based on our longstanding friendship & shared values. https://t.co/Gorww7fKYG— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) August 5, 2020