Alex Azar, the United States Health and Human Services secretary, met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen Monday, the highest-level meeting between Washington and the self-ruled island in decades.
The visit has been condemned by Beijing, which regards Taiwan as Chinese territory, and comes amid an all-time low in US-China relations.
Azar arrived in Taiwan Sunday, where he and his team were given coronavirus tests and were seen wearing face masks. The group was met by members of Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the director general of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and the director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy.
Speaking Monday, Azar said his trip "demonstrates the robust US-Taiwan partnership on global health and health security, one of many aspects of our comprehensive friendship."
"We consider Taiwan to be a vital partner, a democratic success story, and a force for good in the world," he added.
"There are three overarching themes for this trip. The first is to recognize Taiwan as an open and democratic society, executing a highly successful and transparent Covid-19 response. The second is to reaffirm Taiwan as a long partner and friend of the United States, and to highlight our history of broad collaboration on health and public health. The third is to note that Taiwan deserves to be recognized as a global health leader with an excellent track record of contributing to international health."