The US health official met with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, with whom he discussed a closer relationship between both countries. The two politicians also discussed Taiwan’s response to COVID-19, which Mr Azar describes as “among the most successful in the world.”
Taiwan has become an area of tension between it, China, and the US recently.
On Monday this week, Taiwan said its air force had warned off Chinese fighter jets that crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait.
Regarding Mr Azar’s visit to Taiwan, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “We once again warn the US that China is firmly opposed to the US and Taiwan engaging in official exchanges under any pretext.
“On issues involving China’s core interests, some people in the United States must not have any illusions and wishful thinking. Those who play with fire will get burnt.”
And Wang Wenbin, also a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said China “firmly opposes any official interactions between the US and China” ahead of the meeting.
He said: “We urge the US to adhere to the one-China principle and the three joint communiques, stop making official interactions of any kind with Taiwan, handle Taiwan-related issues prudently and properly, and not to send any wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” elements to avoid severe damage to China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
“I want to stress that the one-China principle is universally recognized by the international community. Any attempt to ignore, deny or challenge that principle is doomed to fail.”
The ‘One China’ policy refers to the idea that China is not split into different parts – including Taiwan, which the Chinese government sees as a ‘breakaway province’ of China, the BBC reports.
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“The particular focus of both my discussion with President Tsai and of our trip is highlighting Taiwan’s success on health, in combating COVID-19, and cooperating with the United States to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats.
“Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan’s society and culture.
“Taiwan had tremendous success in detecting COVID-19, managing the outbreak, and sharing this valuable information with other nations.”
Taiwan has confirmed 481 total cases of COVID-19, with seven deaths and 450 recoveries, according to the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.
Yesterday, the Taiwan CDC said it had confirmed one new case which was imported from overseas.