US President-elect George W. Bush rounded out a Cabinet diverse in politics as well as race and gender on Tuesday by persuading a high-level Democrat to join his Republican inner circle. \nBush plucked Japanese American Norman Mineta from President Bill Clinton's Cabinet, nominating the current commerce secretary to the new post of transportation secretary in his own incoming administration. \nCompleting his 14-member Cabinet, Bush also announced his choices of Spencer Abraham, defeated for re-election to the Senate, to be secretary of energy; and Linda Chavez, who served as director of the civil rights commission under President Ronald Reagan, to be secretary of labor. \nBush completed his Cabinet less than a month after he became president-elect and lived up to his diversity vow. \nHis Cabinet nominees include two African-Americans, two Hispanics, one Asian American, one Arab American, four women -- and one Democrat. By picking Mineta, Bush ended the debate over whether he would be able to find a Democrat to serve. \n"It's important to send a signal that this is an administration that recognizes talent when we see it regardless of political party," Bush said. He called his Cabinet "one of the strongest any president has been ever able to assemble." \nSources familiar with the process said a last-minute meeting between Bush and Mineta sealed a deal the president-elect's aides had spent several days trying to close. \nMineta, who made clear to reporters he was proud to be a Democrat and would remain one, told Bush he would not campaign in the 2002 mid-term Congressional elections or in the 2004 presidential election, the sources said. He also wanted a major role in choosing other transportation department officials. \nA former California congressman, Mineta became the first Asian American Cabinet member last July when the Senate confirmed Clinton's nomination of him as commerce secretary. \nHe represented the Silicon Valley area surrounding San Jose, California, for 21 years until stepping down to work as a manager with aircraft giant Lockheed Martin in 1995. \nThe White House said Mineta told Clinton and Al Gore that the Bush team had contacted him about a job and that Clinton and Gore gave him their blessings. \n"Over the last year, this country has witnessed a very hard-fought election, and I was proud to stand with my party," Mineta said. "I have been honored to serve in President Clinton's Cabinet as secretary of commerce. I am a Democrat, with both a small `d' and a large one." \n"However, the campaign is over," he said. "And under our constitutional system, a decision has been rendered. And we are now in the essential transition period when we move from campaigning to governance."
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.
Taiwanese-independence advocates yesterday accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that “China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan.” Ma showed his true colors “as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party” in his speech on Monday when he said the “first battle will be the last,” Taiwan Republic Office (台灣國辦公室) director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) said. “Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no