“We urge the U.S. to adhere to the one-China principle and the three joint communiques, stop making official interactions of any kind with Taiwan, handle Taiwan-related issues prudently and properly,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters at a Wednesday press conference.
Alex Azar is expected to meet with pro-democracy President Tsai Ing-wen, who has distanced Taiwan from mainland China and rejects the country’s one-China policy. Azar’s trip is the first by a Cabinet member in six years and the highest-level U.S. official to visit since 1979.
Wenbin warned the U.S. against embracing “Taiwan independence” in order “to avoid severe damage to China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
Tsai welcomed the visit by Azar and noted the significance of the historical trip which comes after months of heightened tension between the U.S. and China, starting after the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.
“Your timely visit is another testament to the strong Taiwan-U.S. partnership based on our longstanding friendship & shared values,” she wrote.
Azar announced his trip Tuesday, a move that the administration likely knew would cause further tension with China, as an effort to “enhance U.S.-Taiwan cooperation to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic.”