Azar defends Taiwan trip, says China should worry about ‘getting more transparent, more open’ on coronavirus

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Chinese officials should be more concerned with transparency and cooperation with the international community than with a U.S. Cabinet official’s visit to Taiwan, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told “The Story” Tuesday.

“Well, as Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo said yesterday, the Chinese Communist Party has to be feeling pretty weak and insecure if the visit of a health secretary to meet with other health colleagues in the middle of a pandemic, to an area like Taiwan — which has been a model of transparency and openness and democratic values throughout this — [is enough] somehow to send fighter jets,” Azar told host Martha MacCallum.


When MacCallum noted that Beijing does not recognize Taiwan as a separate country, Azar countered that his visit is “completely consistent” with longstanding U.S.policy.

“What the Communist Party of China should be more focused on is getting more transparent, more open and more collaborative on COVID-19,” he said. “When they brought this upon us by concealing so much about this virus and its origins as well as the nature of the disease and preventing international observers … if this virus had emerged in Taiwan or the United States, an open, democratic, transparent public health system, we could have stopped it in its tracks.”


Azar noted that China has been malevolent in the past as well when it comes to Taiwan and viral outbreaks, recalling that Taiwan offered $1 million in “no strings attached” aid to fight the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa, only for China to complain to the World Health Organization and crush the offer.

“[They] said Taiwan can no longer participate in Observer Status — which it had done for years — they bullied the WHO, they bullied Taiwan and kicked Taiwan out,” he said, adding that he and President Trump have lobbied the WHO to readmit Taiwan under “Observer Status.”

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