Taiwan denies US unhappy with how high profile visit has become

Ministry of Foreign Affairs says preparations for thorough trade talks will continue as planned

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Undersecretary of State Keith Krach (first left) arriving in Taiwan Thursday Sept. 17 

Undersecretary of State Keith Krach (first left) arriving in Taiwan Thursday Sept. 17  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — It was wrong to claim the United States government was unhappy with all the attention attending the visit of Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday (Sept. 17).

The U.S. official was scheduled to arrive in Taiwan Thursday 5 p.m. for the highest-level visit to the island by a State Department official since both countries ended official diplomatic relations in 1979. Krach will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and attend a memorial service for late President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who passed away on July 30.

An important element of his visit was expected to be trade talks, as Taiwan announced it would lift a ban on the import of U.S. pork containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, beginning Jan. 1, 2021. However, the absence of trade talks in Krach’s official itinerary led local media to speculate that Washington had scrapped the talks to express displeasure at how high profile the visit had become, CNA reported.

MOFA dismissed the reports as pure speculation, while reproaching the publishers of the rumors for not having contacted the ministry. During his meetings with government officials, Krach will discuss economic relations, supply chain security, democracy, and Indo-Pacific issues, MOFA emphasized.

The ministry added that exchanges of views on a wide range of issues would take place during the undersecretary of state’s visit. Also, more preparatory work for thorough discussions about issues like basic infrastructure, energy, and technology cooperation would be conducted, CNA reported.