Date
22 October 2019
Taiwan's leader Tsa Ing-wen will be spending as many as four nights in the US when she travels to some Caribbean nations this month. Photo: Reuters
Taiwan's leader Tsa Ing-wen will be spending as many as four nights in the US when she travels to some Caribbean nations this month. Photo: Reuters

Taiwan’s Tsai plans longer US transit stops during July trip

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will spend four nights in the United States in July while visiting Caribbean diplomatic allies, her government said on Monday, angering China, which urged Washington not to allow her to visit, Reuters reports.

According to Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Miguel Tsao, Tsai will spend two nights in the United States each way during her trip to St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and Haiti from July 11 to 22.

Details of the US portion of the trip were still being worked out, the minister was quoted as saying.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency said Tsai is expected to transit in New York and Denver.

Tsai’s time in the United States will be unusually long, as normally she spends just a night at a time on transit stops, Reuters noted.

A State Department spokeswoman, however, said there has been no change in Washington’s “one-China” policy, under which the US officially recognizes Beijing and not Taipei, while assisting Taiwan.

“The United States facilitates, from time to time, representatives of the Taiwan authorities to transit the United States,” the spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

“Such transits are undertaken out of consideration for the safety, comfort, convenience and dignity of the passenger and are in keeping with our one-China policy.”

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China urges the United States “not to allow Tsai Ing-wen to transit, and cautiously and appropriately handle Taiwan related issues, to avoid harming Sino-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

China has already expressed its concern to the United States and lodged “stern representations,” he told a daily news briefing.

Taiwan has been trying to shore up its diplomatic alliances amid pressure from China, which has been whittling down its few remaining diplomatic allies, especially in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Tsai, who faces re-election in January, has repeatedly called for international support to defend Taiwan’s democracy in the face of Chinese threats. She last went to the United States in March, stopping over in Hawaii at the end of a Pacific tour.

Taiwan now has formal ties with only 17 countries, almost all small nations in Central America and the Pacific.

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