Mar 20, 2018

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

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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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,275,856 — Total deaths: 69,514 — Total recoveries: 262,999Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 337,638 — Total deaths: 9,647 — Total recoveries: 17,582Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment." The USDA confirms that a Bronx zoo tiger tested positive for coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. World update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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