U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, adding to frictions between the U.S. and China, which sees the island as its own territory.
The health chief's three-day trip aims to strengthen economic and public-health cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After meeting Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, he'll reportedly sign a memorandum of understanding on health cooperation with the Taiwanese government.
This is the highest-level visit by an American official in four decades, since the U.S. broke off its official ties with Taipei in 1979 in favor of Beijing.
Beijing has already protested the health chief's visit, claiming it is a betrayal of U.S. commitments not to have official contact with Taiwan.
"We urge the U.S. side to abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiques, stopping all forms of official contact with Taiwan."
Amid the escalating tensions between the two superpowers, a Chinese think tank claims the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has been patrolling the waters between Taiwan and Japan.
The SCS Probing Initiative tweeted that the carrier was spotted in the East China Sea on Saturday.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.