“The United States pays tribute to President Liho’s legacy by continuing strong ties with Taiwan and its vibrant democracy through shared political and economic values,” the State Department said in a statement.
Crash’s trip to the island was expected as early as August, when US East Asia Secretary of State David Stilwell said the United States would work to strengthen relations with Taiwan and enter into an economic dialogue with the island government.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wen-pin said on Monday before confirming the visit that China strongly refused official visits between the US and Taiwan and warned of the possible effects of the trip on Washington-Beijing relations.
There was already a US minister in Taipei
US Health Minister Alex Azar visited Taiwan in August. He thus became the highest representative of the US administration, who has arrived on the island since 1979, when the US officially severed relations with Taiwan in favor of Beijing.
Li Tenghui died in July at the age of 97. He was nicknamed “Mr. Democracy” because he rejected the autocratic style of government in favor of pluralism and democracy. He also fought against China‘s attempts to take control of the island, which Beijing considers one of its provinces.
The United States, like most countries, maintains official relations only with Beijing, but Washington is required by law to assist Taiwan in its defense and is its main arms supplier.
Miloš Vystrčil, the chairman of the Czech Senate, visited Taiwan at the turn of August and September, and the Chinese government threatened the Czech Republic’s second highest constitutional official to “pay a high price” for his trip.