Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar arrived in Taiwan on Aug. 9 on a trip that is strengthening relations between the two countries and fueling conflict with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which considers the big island part of its territory.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar arrives at Taipei Songshan Airport, Taiwan August 9, 2020. Central News Agency/Pool via REUTERS

“Thank you, President Tsai, for welcoming me to Taiwan today. It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said according to the HHS press statement.

Azar is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 41 years. After a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen, he joined his Taiwanese counterpart, Health, and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung, to preside over the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Aug. 10, according to Taiwan News.

The memorandum was signed by Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, and the chairman of the Council on American Affairs in Taiwan, Yang Jen-ni, at a landmark event scheduled since May.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and Taiwan Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung attend a signing ceremony at the Central Epidemic Command Center in Taipei, Taiwan August 10, 2020. Central News Agency/Pool via REUTERS

Since the beginning of the emergence of the CCP virus, Taiwan’s successful performance made its health system a benchmark in the treatment of the pandemic, which six months later is still wreaking havoc worldwide.

Taiwan recorded only 7 deaths and very little impact on its society or economy, which allowed it to help many other countries to which it donated and provided medical and protective equipment.

Meanwhile, the CCP is accused of covering up the emergence of the disease and other maneuvers that are condemned by many countries, including the United States.

This Azar visit would imply a direct challenge to the “One China” policy that has been maintained in the relationship between the US and the CCP since the early 1970s.

For its part, the CCP complained and lodged a severe diplomatic protest with the United States over Azar’s visit to Taipei, noted the Financial Express.

In this context, the leader of the CCP, Xi Jinping, had addressed a message to the people of Taiwan inviting them to unite under his command using the “one country, two systems” formula, under which Taiwan would have the right to run its own affairs, according to the BBC on January 2, 2019.

At the same time, he left no room for Taiwan to choose a different option, arguing that it “reserves the option of taking all necessary measures”, so the use of armed violence would not be ruled out,

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, declared her nation’s position on Xi Jinping’s statements—rejecting them.

“I want to reiterate that Taiwan absolutely will not accept “one country, two systems.” The vast majority of Taiwanese also resolutely oppose “one country, two systems,” and this opposition is also a “Taiwan consensus,” responded Tsai from the President’s Office.

“China must face the reality of the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and not deny the democratic system that the people of Taiwan have established together,” Tsai reiterated.

The recent violation by the CCP of the international treaty protecting Hong Kong’s autonomy should be seen as a clear warning to Taiwan about its future vis-à-vis the CCP. For some analysts, the annexation of Taiwan would continue to be one of the objectives of the CCP.