As if relations between the United States and China needed to get even more prickly … we have this bit of news.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is visiting Taiwan, the country that the PRC considers to be a “renegade province.” Taiwan has no official diplomatic relationship with virtually the entire world, which essentially recognizes a “one-China” policy.
Well, let me stipulate one point.
I have visited Taiwan five times dating back to 1989. I have seen the country up close. It is a vibrant, successful and energetic democracy. It is far from being the “renegade province” the PRC says it is.
It did break away from the PRC after a bloody civil war in 1949, when the communists seized power from the ruling nationalist party. It operated under martial law for decades in the years since then. It lifted the martial law a few years back.
Taiwan operates as an independent nation. It just has declined to declare its independence, concerned about a possible military reaction from Beijing were it to do so.
Over time, Taiwan’s population has become more native to the island nation, with far fewer citizens with roots in the PRC.
It’s an independent nation. Still, Secretary Azar needs to take care that he doesn’t say something that will rile the commies on the mainland even more than they no doubt already have become.
This, I submit, China-Taiwan is one of the world’s most complicated relationships. Tread carefully, Mr. Secretary.