The Vice President of Taiwan william laitravel this Saturday to USA before attending the inauguration in Paraguay, a move that twitched the Chinese authorities.
China considers this self-governing island part of its territory and claims it will one day return under its control, by force if necessary.
Beijing has increased political and military pressure on the island and has protested against trips to the United States by Taiwanese politicians.
Lai, who is a candidate in Taiwan’s presidential election next year, will officially make only one stopover in the United States on his trip to attend the inauguration of Paraguay’s new president, santiago pena.
Paraguay is the only country in South America that diplomatically recognizes Taiwan against China.
“Leaving shortly for Asunción to attend the inauguration and convey to him and the people of Paraguay the best wishes”, Lai wrote on the X social network, formerly known as Twitter.
“Excited to meet our American friends at the layover,” he added.
In response, Laura Rosenbergerpresident of the American Institute in Taiwan, which acts as Taiwan’s representative in the United States, said officials are “looking forward to welcoming” Lai.
Lai plans to make a stopover in NY on his trip to Paraguay, and a stop in San Francisco upon his return.
Last week, Beijing’s Foreign Ministry urged the United States to “respect the one-China principle” and end official exchanges with Taiwan.
In April, China held three days of military exercises simulating a blockade operation on Taiwan after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with the head of the US House of Representatives, kevin mccarthyin California, upon his return from a trip to Guatemala and Belize.
Before the trip, Taiwan sought to downplay the displacement, with Foreign Minister spokesman Jeff Liu saying there is “nothing special” about a vice president being in transit in the United States, something that has happened 11 times.
“China has no reason to overreact or to take the opportunity to escalate the situation”he said this week, and specified that Lai travels as vice president and not as a presidential candidate.
In the week leading up to Lai’s trip, China’s incursions into Taiwan’s waters and airspace, which have occurred on a daily basis for the past year, became more intense.
(With information from Europa Press)
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