August 13, 2020
Sec. Azar Pays Respects to President Lee and
Highlights Burgeoning U.S.-Taiwan Economic Relationship
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar began his final day in Taiwan speaking to journalists throughout the Indo-Pacific region on a telebriefing hosted by the U.S. State Department’s Asia-Pacific Media Hub. Secretary Azar emphasized that free and open societies are best-equipped to respond to global health threats and stated, “Taiwan has much to share with the world, and I emerge from this trip only more convinced of that fact. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world.”
Secretary Azar then traveled to the Taipei Guest House to pay his respects to late Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. He wrote on the note he placed on the memorial wall, “President Lee’s democratic legacy will forever propel the U.S.-Taiwan relationship forward.”
Later in the day, Secretary Azar and the U.S. delegation toured the Chang Hong face mask machine factory with Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin. The visit focused on the value of the burgeoning U.S.–Taiwan economic relationship and the success of Taiwan’s dynamic, free-market approach to economics, with Taiwan now ranking as one of the United States’ top ten trading partners.
The Secretary and the Vice Premier discussed Taiwan’s economic success and how its free-market model feeds Taiwan’s achievements in health. They also spoke about the work that both the United States and Taiwan did at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak to rapidly expand the production of personal protective equipment, including masks and respirators. Secretary Azar mentioned the work that Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec did in January and February to nearly triple the rate of production of N95 respirators on U.S. soil between January and March, and spoke about the benefits of the shared characteristics of the economies in the United States and Taiwan, including respect for innovation, for individual property, and for economic dynamism.
Secretary Azar then departed from Songshan International Airport en route to Anchorage, Alaska.