The US government is sending senior officials to Taiwan to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.
US health secretary Alex Azar said he would lead the delegation to Taiwan in the coming days. He will be the highest-ranking American cabinet official to visit the island since 1979, says the New York Times.
Azar said he would discuss Taiwan’s “global health leadership” during the pandemic when he meets with President Tsai Ing-wen.
Taiwan’s response to the pandemic has received international praise, but China has sought to keep the self-governing island out of the World Health Organization (WHO), causing political acrimony.
The US visit may inflame tensions with China, which regards Taiwan as a rebel region that must be reunited with the mainland - by force if necessary.