Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s trip to Taiwan is angering Beijing. Good.
Azar will be the highest-ranking US official to visit the island since 1979 and the first US cabinet official to go in six years. China views Taiwan as a part of itself, has sought to isolate it and hopes to regain control there eventually, perhaps by force.
By dispatching Azar, President Trump is delivering a clear message of resistance to China’s increasingly egregious behavior.
As the world has been fighting COVID-19, Beijing has been busy suppressing dissent. It’s exerted control over Hong Kong and virtually ended democracy there, which prompted Trump to slap sanctions Friday on Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and 10 other senior officials in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Beijing has also been brutalizing Uighurs, fighting with India, trying to dominate the South China Sea and hobbling the world’s COVID response, among other abuses.
It sought to exclude Taipei from World Health Organization meetings, too, even though Taiwan has had one of the best global responses to the virus.
Azar’s visit, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told The Post, is appreciated. “We hope we can exchange ideas” and “show the best practices in dealing with COVID-19.”
“Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it,” says Azar. The United States and Taiwan both believe “free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health.”
Past administrations have let China get away, literally, with murder. Good for Trump for pushing back.