Taiwan confirmed Tuesday that President Tsai Ing-wen will transit the USA en path to Central America on the finish of the month, however there was no phrase on whether or not a extremely anticipated assembly with US Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy will happen.
Tsai will head to New York on March 29 earlier than visiting Guatemala and Belize, presidential spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan informed reporters. She’s going to then cease in California earlier than returning to Taiwan.
When requested whether or not Tsai will meet with McCarthy, as has been extensively reported in latest weeks, the presidential workplace refused to supply any particulars of her itinerary within the US.
McCarthy informed reporters earlier this month that he’ll meet with Tsai when she is within the US however didn’t specify a date. He additionally didn’t rule out the potential of taking a visit to Taiwan himself along with their assembly.
Any nose to nose assembly between McCarthy and Tsai is prone to infuriate China’s ruling Communist Occasion, which claims democratic Taiwan as its personal territory regardless of by no means having managed it.
China launched large warfare drills close to Taiwan final summer season, together with firing a number of missiles over the island, when McCarthy’s predecessor Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei – the primary such journey by a sitting Home speaker in 25 years.
China hit out at preliminary stories of Tsai’s deliberate US transit emerged earlier this month with its Overseas Ministry declaring it was “severely involved” in regards to the prospect of a gathering with McCarthy and repeating its place that Beijing “resolutely opposes all official exchanges between US and Taiwan.”
On Tuesday, Overseas Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin repeated that criticism, saying Beijing was against the go to “in any title for any motive” and accusing Tsai of “selling Taiwan independence” with the journey.
Taiwan’s refusal to verify particulars of a possible McCarthy assembly prematurely is no surprise given the geopolitical sensitivities.
Pelosi’s go to to Taipei final yr was solely formally made public as soon as her airplane landed, though it was reported by Western media forward of time.
See why tensions are rising between US and China over Taiwan
Guatemala and Belize are two of Taiwan’s few remaining official diplomatic allies.
Final Tuesday, Honduras President Xiomara Castro stated she deliberate to modify diplomatic recognition to Beijing.
That transfer would go away Taiwan with simply 13 official diplomatic allies, largely small nations in Latin American and the Pacific.
Nevertheless, Taiwan has de-facto, however non-official, diplomatic relations with many Western nations together with the USA.
Throughout her journey to Taipei final yr, Pelosi, a California Democrat, stated the go to supposed to make it “unequivocally clear” the US would “not abandon” the democratically ruled island.
The US maintains shut unofficial ties with Taiwan, and is certain by legislation to supply Taiwan with defensive arms.
Taiwanese leaders, together with Tsai, have beforehand transited by way of the US on their method to different locations.
Tsai most lately visited the US in July 2019 when she stopped over in New York earlier than heading to Haiti, a diplomatic ally of Taiwan.
US officers have engaged in a number of communications with Chinese language officers in latest weeks to remind them of previous precedents relating to US transits of Taiwanese presidents, a senior administration official informed reporters.
The official famous that that any transit to the US of Tsai shouldn’t be utilized by China as a pretext for an aggressive response.
Tsai’s deliberate journey comes as Taiwan and the USA ramp up efforts to counter China’s rising army capabilities.
It additionally coincides with former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s visit to mainland China, the primary such journey by a former Taiwanese chief because the finish of the Chinese language Civil Struggle in 1949.
Ma served as Taiwan’s president between 2008 and 2016, throughout which he drew stronger financial ties between China and Taiwan however saved Beijing’s push for “reunification” at bay.
The 2 journeys are going down at a politically delicate time.
Taiwan is scheduled to carry its subsequent presidential election in January subsequent yr. Tsai isn’t eligible for re-election.
Fears of a possible Chinese language invasion, which have loomed over Taiwan for greater than seven many years, are significantly excessive, supercharged by each Chinese language chief Xi Jinping’s elevated assertiveness and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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