Another senior US official to visit Taiwan

17-Sep-2020 Intellasia | AFP | 9:30 AM Print This Post

A top State Department official will visit Taiwan for a memorial service for late president Lee Teng-hui, defying China by making the second high-ranking US trip in as many months to the island.

Keith Krach, the under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, is en route to Taipei for the service on Saturday, the State Department said.

“The United States honors President Lee’s legacy by continuing our strong bonds with Taiwan and its vibrant democracy through shared political and economic values,” spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Krach’s trip comes a little over a month after a US cabinet member, Health and Human Services minister Alex Azar, visited to highlight Taiwan’s widely praised efforts to stop Covid-19.

China, whose relations with President Donald Trump’s administration have sharply deteriorated, warned Washington at the time that it “firmly opposes” official exchanges between Taiwan and the US.

Beijing considers Taiwan, where China’s defeated nationalists fled in 1949 after losing the civil war, to be a territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

Lee, who died in July at age 97, was a towering figure in Taiwan’s history, ushering in democracy and angering China by pushing for the island to be recognised as sovereign.

Krach, with his economic focus, will be visiting as Taiwan seeks a trade deal with the United States.

President Tsai Ing-wen removed a major hurdle last month by easing safety restrictions on US beef and pork welcome news for farmers, a key constituency for Trump, on the eve of the election.

Tensions have soared between the United States and China on issues ranging from trade to human rights to health, with Trump blaming Beijing for the coronavirus pandemic.

But the United States has so far not strayed from the unwritten red line on Taiwan, as it has not sent senior officials whose primary responsibilities are foreign affairs or defense.


Category: Taiwan

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