TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Trump in a radio interview Tuesday (Aug. 11) praised Taiwan’s epidemic response but ruled out visiting the country by the end of the year.
Trump gave a phone-in interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on Salem Radio Networks covering a wide-range of topics, including Taiwan. The president’s comments came as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was in the country to improve public health cooperation between the two nations.
During the interview, Hewitt asked if Secretary Azar’s visit was a “trial run” for something bigger and then asked the president if he was considering visiting Taiwan before the end of the year. Trump immediately answered no.
“No, I’m not. No, it wasn’t, you know, anything like that. It wasn’t, it was just something we were talking about COVID. They’ve done well. We’ve done well also. We get no credit for it,” Trump told Hewitt.
Hewitt then asked whether considering China’s recklessness with COVID-19 and its aggressiveness, especially with respect to its new deal with Iran, should Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan look to acquire nuclear weapons or hypersonic missiles.
Trump replied, “Well, I’m not going to suggest anything, but I will tell you it causes problems. And it’s a big point of discussion for us over the next two months. I will tell you that. It’s going to be a big, a very big point of discussion.”
Later in the interview, Hewitt said, “And I think the most important thing you’ve done is you reframed the China relationship breaking with the policy of 50 years to make sure we know they’re an adversary. But you tweet nice things about President Xi. Is it possible to both be nice to people and also tough as hell on them?”
Trump described his relationship with General Secretary Xi (習近平) as great, but then said it is no longer very good because of how they handled the coronavirus. The president then said the trade deal with China has led to Beijing buying billions of dollars of U.S. goods.
Azar’s visit to Taiwan has been the highest-level U.S. Cabinet official to visit since the two countries broke off diplomatic relations in 1979. He has met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other top government officials, including Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).