Taipei – Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Tuesday told the visiting U.S. Health Secretary that China is exerting pressure that could turn Taiwan into the next Hong Kong.
Wu told Alex Azar life in Taiwan has become increasingly difficult “as China continues to pressure Taiwan into accepting its political conditions, conditions that will turn Taiwan into the next Hong Kong.”
China is facing international criticism after it imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong that is widely seen as ending the agreement that gave the territory extra freedoms until 2047, part of the conditions for Britain returning the colony to China in 1997.
Azar’s trip, the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979, has drawn irk from China, which considers the island part of its territory.
Wu expressed appreciation to the U.S. for its support in fighting for Taiwan’s “international space,” including public calls for Taipei to join the World Health Organisation.
“This is not just about Taiwan’s status, but about sustaining democracy in the face of authoritarian aggression,’’ Wu said.
He praised Taiwan’s press freedom as he met with Wu, a day after the controversial arrest of media and pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong, including Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai.
Azar also praised Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 and its aid to others through the donation of masks and the offering of medical assistance.
As of Monday, Taiwan, with 23.8 million populations, has just reported 480 coronavirus cases and seven virus-related deaths.