Medicine
Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:44
US Announces Highest-Level Visit to Taiwan in Decades, Risking China Anger
TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior US official is to lead a delegation to Taiwan in the highest-level visit since 1979 to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and to “celebrate the shared values” of the two democracies – prompting China to urge the US not to “send the wrong signals to Taiwan secessionists”.

The US Health Secretary, Alex Azar, said he would be the first cabinet member to visit in six years, in the most significant trip there since the US formally cut diplomatic ties decades ago to pursue relations with the Chinese Communist party, according to The Guardian.

Taiwan announced the visit would take place in the coming days.

“Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it,” said Azar, who is also the chair of the US coronavirus taskforce.

“I look forward to conveying President [Donald] 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,” he added.

Azar will also meet Taiwain’s President, Tsai Ing-wen.

The US delegation’s visit is already fuelling tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own and vows it will be brought under control by force if necessary. China’s Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday it firmly opposed official interaction between the US and Taiwan, and it had lodged “stern representations” with the US.

State media reported that China had urged the US “not to send the wrong signals to Taiwan secessionists”.

In May, Beijing expressed “strong indignation” after the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, hailed the “courage and vision” of Tsai upon her re-election. Last year a US visit by Tsai drew “stern representations” from Beijing, which urged Washington not to allow the visit if it wanted “to avoid harming Sino-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

Shortly after the Chinese Foreign Ministry press conference on Wednesday, Tsai tweeted that she was looking forward to welcoming Azar.

“Your timely visit is another testament to the strong Taiwan-US partnership based on our longstanding friendship & shared values,” she wrote.

While ostensibly focused on the pandemic, the visit comes at the lowest point in US-Sino relations in four decades, with hostilities on multiple fronts including trade, technology, human rights and Hong Kong.

Joining Azar will be the chief medical officer of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Mitch Wolfe, and the retired US ambassador James Moriarty, who now chairs the American Institute in Taiwan. They will “discuss the COVID-19 response, global health, the US-Taiwan partnership, and Taiwan’s role as a reliable global supplier of medical equipment and critical technology”, according to a statement.

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced, “In contrast to authoritarian systems, US and Taiwan societies and economies are uniquely equipped to drive global progress in areas such as medicine and science to help the world tackle emerging threats.”

Taiwan’s virus response is considered to be one of the most successful in the world, while the US continues to report tens of thousands of new cases a day. The US has provided assistance to Taiwan in the form of arms sales, and has an increasing presence in the South China Sea.

On Tuesday, China’s Ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, said the US’s intensifying military activities in the region were raising the risk of a potential confrontation, and denied allegations Beijing was practising intimidation in the South China Sea.

Cui stated that Beijing did not want tensions to escalate further, after retaliatory consulate closures in Houston and Chengdu, and sanctions against government officials.

“I don’t think a new cold war would serve anybody’s interest,” he noted, adding, “Why should we allow history to repeat … when we are faced with so many new challenges?”

Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said it looked forward to welcoming the delegation.

“Taiwan and the US are like-minded partners cooperating closely in combating the coronavirus and promoting freedom, democracy and human rights worldwide,” it added.

The last US cabinet official to visit Taiwan was Gina McCarthy, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom top
Iran Released Images of US Carrier Strike Group Detected by IRGC Naval Drones Near Hormuz Strait

TEHRAN (FNA)- A US Navy Aircraft carrier group, including a Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier and its escorting battleships, were monitored by home-made drones of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy before approaching the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. The IRGCN later released the images taken by its drones. [PHOTOS]
US: Fires Leave Apocalyptic Scenes in Oregon

TEHRAN (FNA)- Apocalyptic scenes of charred neighborhoods in Southern Oregon after a blitz of deadly wildfires. [PHOTOS]
Bulgaria: Thousands Demand PM to Resign at Independence Day Protest

TEHRAN (FNA)- Thousands of protesters rallied in Sofia on Bulgaria's Independence Day demanding the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Demonstrators could be seen waving Bulgarian flags and flashlights, as well as chanting anti-government slogans and scuffling with police. [VIDEO]
US COVID-19 Deaths Memorialized on National Mall as Toll Passes 200,000

TEHRAN (FNA)- Volunteers from the COVID-19 Memorial Project have placed 20,000 American flags on the National Mall as the United States crosses the threshold of 200,000 lives lost in the Covid-19 pandemic. [VIDEO]
Mourning Ceremony of Martyrdom Anniversary of Hazrat Ruqayyah (SA) under Strict COVID-19 Health Protocols

TEHRAN (FNA)- Mourning ceremonies were held in Iran to mark the martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Ruqayyah (SA) in the lunar month of Safar, under strict health protocols amid the COVID-19 outbreak. [PHOTOS]
US: 20,000 Flags Placed on National Mall Mark COVID-19 Deaths

TEHRAN (FNA)- Twenty thousand flags were placed on the National Mall in Washington, DC in remembrance of the over 200,000 American lives lost due to complications related to COVID-19. [PHOTOS]
US Occupation of Syria Is Now Official

TEHRAN (FNA)- The United States has now sent more occupying forces into Syria in clear violation of international law.
Iranian Students Win Colorful Medals at Singapore Math Olympiad

TEHRAN (FNA)- Six students from Iran's Hormuzgan province have received one gold, three silver, and two bronze medals in the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad (SASMO 2020), provincial Education Department official Mohammad Qavidel announced on Wednesday.
Iran, Nigeria Vow to Broaden Energy Cooperation

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Ambassador to Abuja Mohammad Ali Bak and Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Marlin Sylva in a meeting in Abuja underlined the need to expand cooperation in the field of energy resources.
IRGC Warns of Harsh Response to Any US Inspection of Iranian Ships

TEHRAN (FNA)- Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi warned that any US move to inspect the Iranian vessels in international waters will be faced with not only defensive, but also offensive moves by Iran.
UK Foreign Secretary Warns Second Lockdown Could Be Needed If New COVID-19 Rules Don't Work

TEHRAN (FNA)- A second national lockdown could be needed if the latest coronavirus restrictions do not work, the foreign secretary told Sky News.
Iran, Sweden Discuss Ways to Send Humanitarian Aid to Yemenis

TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Assistant to the Iranian Foreign Minister for Special Political Affairs Ali Asqar Khaji and Sweden's Special Envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby on Wednesday conferred on ways to dispatch food and medicine to the war-hit Yemeni people.
VP: Iran to Export PCR Kits Soon

TEHRAN (FNA)- Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari said that Iran is preparing the needed grounds for export of coronavirus PCR kits, adding that the country is also increasing export of ventilators to different countries.
Trump Accused of Turning UN Speech into Election Rally After Railing Aainst China over COVID

TEHRAN (FNA)- US President Donald Trump celebrated his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and blamed China for the “plague” the country “unleashed on to the world” in a speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York that was quickly decried by critics as a “virtual, campaign-like address”.
Prosecutor General: Martyr Soleimani’s Case Closed Only by Avenging Perpetrators

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri warned that Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani's assassination case will be open as long as Iran has not taken full revenge from all the criminals behind the terror attack on the former Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander.