US sends top-level diplomat to Taiwan, angering China Sep 18, 2020 0 601 12345 AFPTaipeiA top US diplomat landed in Taiwan on Thursday, the highest-ranking State Department official to visit in 40 years, in a further sign of Washington’s willingness to defy China and its campaign to isolate the self-ruled island.Keith Krach, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, is visiting to attend a memorial service for late president Lee Teng-hui on Saturday, the US State Department said.The trip, the second high-ranking US visit in as many months, sparked an immediate rebuke from China, which baulks at any recognition of Taiwan and has mounted a decades-long policy of marginalising the democratic island.Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory, to be absorbed into the mainland -- by force if necessary.“China strongly opposes this,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Thursday, saying the trip “encourages the arrogant attitude of Taiwan independence separatist forces”.Relations between the United States and China are at their lowest point in decades, with the two sides clashing over a range of trade, military and security issues, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.Washington’s increased outreach to Taiwan under US President Donald Trump has become yet another flashpoint between the two powers. “The United States honours President Lee’s legacy by continuing our strong bonds with Taiwan and its vibrant democracy through shared political and economic values,” spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement announcing Krach’s trip. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES WHO warns of ‘alarming’ virus spread in Europe Sep 18, 2020 0 1114 Navalny aides say Novichok found on hotel water bottle Sep 18, 2020 0 1107 EU parliament demands tough Russia sanctions over Navalny Sep 18, 2020 0 1104 Moderna reveals detailed plans for COVID-19 clinical trial AFP Washington US biotech firm Moderna, one of two companies currently holding phase 3 trials in the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine, took the unusual step on Thursday of publishing its trial protocols after calls .. Coronavirus epicentre Wuhan re-opens for international flights AFP Beijing China’s Wuhan, ground zero for the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe, has re-opened for international flights, ending an eight-month moratorium since the deadly disease first emerged. China .. Czechs struggling with record COVID-19 spike PRAGUE: The Czech Republic is struggling to stem a massive spike in coronavirus infections after clocking a record daily rate of infection on par with neighbouring Germany, which has a population that is eight times .. 17 countries initiate OSCE human rights investigation in Belarus DPA Vienna Belarus will be subject to an international investigation into human rights abuses and election fraud, according to a mechanism triggered by 17 mostly European countries on Thursday. The group, which .. New York City delays return to school again NEW YORK: New York City postponed again on Thursday the return of in-classroom teaching for a large number of pupils, highlighting the difficulty of getting children back to school amid anxiety among teachers about .. Biden faces US voters at town hall as campaign heats up AFP Washington White House hopeful Joe Biden on Thursday holds his first extended face-to-face with real voters since winning the Democratic nomination, a town hall where he will likely savage President Donald Trump’s ..