Mar 20, 2018 - World

U.S. official visits Taiwan amid tensions with China over travel act

Taiwanese flag

A scene from the inauguration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Photo: Billy H.C. Kwok / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, landed in Taiwan Tuesday for a three-day trip. He's the first U.S. official to visit Taiwan since President Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, which "encourages visits between officials of the United States and Taiwan at all levels."

  • A visit at this level is far from unprecedented, but while Wong's area of expertise is security issues in the region, past visits have tended to focus on issues like trade. Wong will attend a dinner during the visit at which Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is also expected to be present.
  • Why it matters: China is fiercely opposed to the travel act, claiming it "severely violate[s] the one-China principle." American and Taiwanese officials have said the timing is unrelated to the act.
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