China’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday against any official interaction between the United States and Taiwan after the director of health and human services announced that director Alex Azar would lead a delegation to the country in the coming days. in an effort to strengthen economic ties and mutual support during the coronavirus. pandemic.
Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told the daily press briefing in Beijing that the country had “filed tough demarches” with the United States during the visit, Reuters reported.
Azar will be the highest U.S. cabinet official to visit Taiwan since the 1979 severance of official diplomatic relations.
“Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it,” Azar said in a statement. “I look forward to conveying President Trump’s support for Taiwan’s global health leadership and underscoring our shared belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health. This trip represents an opportunity to strengthen our economic and public health cooperation with Taiwan, especially as the United States and other countries strive to strengthen and diversify our sources of essential medical products. ”
HONG KONG NATIONAL SECURITY LAW PUT TAIWAN ON THE EDGE
The trip is expected to anger China as the government views Taiwan as territory to be annexed by force if necessary.
In May, Beijing declared that the United States had “seriously violated” the one-China policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen on her second term.
The trip comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and China over the coronavirus, trade, Hong Kong and consulates being forced to close over espionage charges.
The United States maintains only informal ties with Taiwan out of respect for China.
The ministry said the trip was part of the Taiwan Travel Law, which President Trump enacted in 2018 to strengthen relations between the two countries. HHS also highlighted Taiwan’s success in dealing with the pandemic and called its role in the international community “critical.”
During the visit, Azar will meet with Taiwanese counterparts to discuss the response to the pandemic and Taiwan’s role as a global supplier of medical equipment.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
Azar will be the first HHS secretary to visit Taiwan and the first cabinet member to visit in six years since Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy visited in 2014.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.