Is the United States seeking to escalate Sino-American tensions? They will soon send their most eminent delegation to Taiwan since 1979. Neither Taiwan nor Washington has specified the date of this visit.

The US office in charge of trade relations with Taiwan confirmed Tuesday, August 4, that US Secretary of Health Alex Azar will head the delegation to visit the island that Beijing considers a rebel province called to return one day to the bosom of Communist China.

"This marks ... the first visit by a member of government in six years," the American Institute in Taiwan said, adding that no member of the US government of such high rank has visited. "since 1979". It was that year that Washington had chosen to recognize China, and to stop recognizing Taipei.

“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.

He added that he was eager to convey US President Donald Trump's support for Taiwan's "leadership" in the face of the health crisis and to "underscore our common belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health. ".

Azar, "a close friend from Taiwan"

Taiwan confirmed the next visit, specifying that Mr. Azar would meet the Taiwanese ministers of foreign affairs and health on this occasion.

"Minister Azar has long been a close friend of Taiwan," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the visit was "proof of the solid foundations of mutual trust" between Washington and Taipei.

A rapprochement since the election of Donald Trump

The United States remains Taiwan's primary arms supplier but has traditionally been cautious in the nature of official bilateral contacts.

However, this has changed since the election of Donald Trump who moved closer to Taiwan as relations deteriorated with Beijing.

The last visit to Taiwan by a member of the US government was in 2014 by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The previous one dated back to 2000, when Bill Clinton's Transportation Secretary visited the island.

With AFP and Reuters

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