Taiwan is facing an increasingly difficult situation as China is forcing the democratic island to accept conditions that would turn it into the next Hong Kong, its top diplomat told US Secretary of Health Alex Azar on Tuesday. Azar arrived as the highest-level US official to visit Taiwan on Sunday in four decades, a trip criticized by China that considers the island as its own.
China has suggested a model of autonomy, “one country, two systems,” to get Taiwan to adopt its rule, just as it uses in Hong Kong. Both political parties and the Government opposed the plan in Taiwan. Wu said Taiwan was lucky to have friends like Azar in the U.S. to help fight for international space for Taiwan. In 1979 Washington broke off official relations with Taipei in favor of Beijing but remains Taiwan’s largest supplier of arms. As relations with China worsen over issues like human rights and trade, the Trump administration has made increasing its support for the democratic Island a priority.
Azar is in Taiwan not only to offer the government’s support for its democracy, but also to learn about its successful battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to early and successful preventive efforts, Taiwan has kept its infection numbers small. Azar said the world should accept Taiwan’s health achievements, referring to Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Organization (WHO) as a result of Chinese objections, which regard Taiwan as merely a villain.