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International relations

US health chief lands in Taiwan on 'highest level' trip since 1979

Alex Azar's visit follows dramatic week in tech Cold War with China

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar arrives at Taipei Songshan Airport, Taiwan Aug. 9.   © Reuters

TAIPEI -- U.S. President Donald Trump's health secretary arrived in Taiwan on Sunday ahead of meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen and other officials in the following days, in a conspicuous display of warming relations just as Washington-Beijing ties turn icier than ever.

The American Institute in Taiwan -- the de facto embassy on the self-ruled island that China views as part of its territory -- described Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's trip as the first by a cabinet member in six years "and the highest level visit by a U.S. cabinet official since 1979."

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