US envoy speaks before reporters in Taiwan

The US envoy to Palau, who is currently visiting Taiwan, has spoken in front of reporters together with Taiwan's foreign minister, in an apparent show of their close ties.

US Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland has been in Taiwan since Sunday. He is accompanying Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr.

The US ambassador told reporters on Tuesday that Taiwan has long been providing Palau with medical assistance, and that the United States has been supplying coronavirus vaccines to Palau since January.

Ambassador Hennessey-Niland added that he looks forward to discussing other opportunities for cooperation between Taiwan, Palau and the US in the future.

Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu also underlined the partnership between the three sides. He said Ambassador Hennessey-Niland's visit to Taiwan means their close ties will further strengthen.

Taiwan media say this is the first visit to Taiwan by a US ambassador since the US severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979.

The move is an apparent bid by Washington to show its commitment to the Pacific region. China's Foreign Ministry has reacted sharply.