US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar (L) and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen pose for photos in Taipei. (Photo: Reuters)
HONG KONG: China is accused of pressurizing Taiwan, a democratic island, to accept conditions that would turn it into the next Hong Kong.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told visiting US Health Secretary Alex Azar that Taiwan faces a difficult position as China pressures the country to accept its conditions, Aljazeera reported.
Azar was in Taiwan as the highest-level US official to visit in four decades.
His trip to Taiwan coincided with a further crackdown in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, where police arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai on Monday under a tough new national security law, the report said.
Aljazeera quoted Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as saying that their lives have become “increasingly difficult as China continues to pressure Taiwan into accepting its political conditions”, which they fear will turn Taiwan into the next Hong Kong.
China has already proposed a “one country, two systems” model of autonomy to get Taiwan to accept its rule.
Taiwan has, meanwhile, rejected the proposal.
Joseph Wu said Taiwan was lucky to have friends like Azar in the US to help fight for Taiwan’s international space, the report said.
Azar was in Taiwan to learn about its successful fight against the coronavirus pandemic as well as to offer the administration’s support for its democracy.
(With inputs from Aljazeera)