Updated Aug 5, 2020 - World

China says U.S. is "endangering peace" with high-level visit to Taiwan

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a June briefing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday night he will lead a delegation to Taiwan "in the coming days."

Why it matters: It's the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979. Azar is also the first U.S. Cabinet member to visit the island state in six years. The visit has angered China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory. Chinese officials accused the U.S. Wednesday of "endangering peace" with the visit, AFP reports.

Details: Azar said in a statement, "Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it.

  • "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 work to strengthen and diversify our sources for crucial medical products."

What they're saying: Per AFP, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at a briefing, "China firmly opposes official exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan."

Go deeper: U.S.-China diplomacy is crumbling

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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