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HomeWorldTaiwan president announces trip to the Americas, stirring concern

Taiwan president announces trip to the Americas, stirring concern


Tsai Ing-wen plans to visit allies in Central America at the end of the month, making two unofficial US stops.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s office has revealed that she will make unofficial stops in the United States as she travels to visit two Central American allies, Guatemala and Belize.

But in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement, US President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to underline the “personal” nature of the attacks, in an effort to avoid escalating tensions with China.

“These are called transits,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said of the planned US stops. “Not uncommon. President Tsai has done it six times. Every president of Taiwan in recent history has done this.”

At a press conference on Tuesday, Kirby rejected questions that the government could try to reduce the importance of any visits. “It’s not about trivializing. It’s about being factual,” he told reporters.

The US, like the vast majority of the world, has no official relations with Taiwan, in favor of maintaining diplomatic ties with China, which considers the island part of its territory.

China opposes state relations between the self-governing island and other nations, and earlier this month Honduras signaled it would likely cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan to establish a relationship with China.

If that happens, the number of official diplomatic allies Taiwan has would drop to 13.

Nevertheless, China has criticized the US for maintaining unofficial relations with the island, including selling military weapons and equipment.

On Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry condemned President Tsai’s planned trip and warned that it disapproved of any contact between the US and Taiwan governments.

“We are again warning the Taiwanese authorities that there is no way out for Taiwan’s independence, and any illusion about attempts to cooperate with outside forces to seek independence and provocation is doomed,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

He also denounced Germany for its education minister’s visit to Taiwan this week, calling the trip a demonstration of “despicable behaviour”. Germany, like the US, has no formal relations with Taiwan and has refuted claims that the visit violated the “One China” principle.

In an effort to allay diplomatic concerns, the Biden administration stressed on Tuesday that President Tsai’s stops in the US would be “unofficial” and “business as usual.”

“There is no reason for China to overreact,” Kirby told reporters. “Damn, there’s no reason for them to respond. This is something that, as I said, is commonplace.”

But news of Tsai’s layovers in the US has fueled speculation that she plans to meet Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the leading Republican in the US House of Representatives.

McCarthy was rumored to be planning a visit to Taiwan, following a similar trip by previous Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Her brief appearance last August, along with five other Democratic Party members, made her the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island since 1997.

But it also drew outrage from China, which held military exercises around the island and even dropped missiles off the coast.

Tsai’s visit to the US could provide McCarthy with an alternative to an equally sensitive trip to Taiwan. But when pressed about the prospect of a meeting between the two officials, Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yui avoided confirming plans, instead saying details would be revealed at a later date.

According to her spokesperson Lin Yu-chan, Tsai will be in New York on March 30 en route to Central America. She is also expected to make her return trip through Los Angeles to McCarthy’s home state of California on April 5.


Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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