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August 4, 2020
Contact: HHS Press Office
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HHS Secretary Alex Azar to Lead Delegation to Taiwan in First Visit by a U.S. HHS Secretary

In the coming days, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar will lead a delegation to Taiwan. This marks the first visit to Taiwan by an HHS Secretary, the first Cabinet member to visit in six years, and the highest level visit by a U.S. Cabinet official since 1979.

“Taiwan has been a model of transparency and cooperation in global health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before it,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “I look forward to conveying President Trump’s support for Taiwan’s global health leadership and underscoring our shared belief that free and democratic societies are the best model for protecting and promoting health. This trip represents an opportunity to strengthen our economic and public health cooperation with Taiwan, especially as the United States and other countries work to strengthen and diversify our sources for crucial medical products.”

Secretary Azar’s historic visit will strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan partnership and enhance U.S-Taiwan cooperation to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan’s role in the international community is critical, as demonstrated by its remarkable success battling COVID-19 as a free and transparent democratic society.

In 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Taiwan Travel Act, and this visit is part of America’s policy of sending high-level U.S. officials to Taiwan to reaffirm the U.S.-Taiwan friendship, pursue shared interests, and celebrate the shared values that bond the United States and Taiwan to the international family of democracies.

In contrast to authoritarian systems, U.S. and Taiwan societies and economies are uniquely equipped to drive global progress in areas such as medicine and science to help the world tackle emerging threats. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent example of joint U.S.-Taiwan efforts to confront global challenges for the good of the world.

On behalf of President Trump, Secretary Azar will meet with senior Taiwan counterparts, COVID-19 responders and experts, and other Taiwan partners to discuss the COVID-19 response, global health, the U.S.-Taiwan partnership, and Taiwan’s role as a reliable global supplier of medical equipment and critical technology.

The Secretary will also give a major speech while in Taiwan to public health graduate students and alumni of the U.S. CDC training program, where he will highlight Taiwan’s constructive role in the international community, especially in global public health.

The Secretary will be joined by Ambassador (ret) James F. Moriarty, Chairman of the Board of the American Institute in Taiwan; Dr. Mitchell Wolfe, Chief Medical Officer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Brian Harrison, HHS Chief of Staff; Garrett Grigsby, Director of the HHS Office of Global Affairs; and other members of the Administration.

Additional information and details regarding the delegation’s meetings and site visits will be forthcoming in news releases and social media posts.

HHS and the Taiwan authorities have been closely coordinating health and safety protocols for the delegation’s visit.

For more information, see:

Secretary Azar’s remarks to the virtual World Health Assembly (May, 2020): https://www.hhs.gov/about/leadership/secretary/speeches/2020-speeches/secretary-azar-plenary-remarks-at-world-health-assembly.html

U.S. Statement on Taiwan's Participation at the World Health Assembly (May, 2020): https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/05/19/us-statement-on-taiwan-participation-at-the-world-health-assembly.html

Secretary Azar and Minister Chen spoke on the phone to discuss the COVID-19 response (April, 2020): https://twitter.com/secazar/status/1254773790858334210?lang=en


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Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: August 4, 2020

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