Taiwan president in US after warning of risk from ‘abroad forces’

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in america on Thursday on a visit that has angered Beijing, warning that democracy should be defended and that the island confronted threats from “overseas forces,” in a veiled reference to China.

FILE PHOTO: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen attends a ceremony to join Democratic Progressive Celebration’s 2020 presidential candidate nomination in Taipei, Taiwan March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Picture

China, which claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its personal and views it as a wayward province, had known as on america to not permit Tsai to transit there on her abroad tour.

Tsai is spending 4 nights in america – two on the primary leg and two on the way in which again from a go to to 4 Caribbean allies. She started her journey in New York and is predicted to cease in Denver on her means again.

Shortly earlier than Tsai was resulting from arrive at her Manhattan lodge, a Reuters photographer witnessed a brawl on the lodge’s entrance between dozens of pro-China and pro-Taiwan protesters, which was ultimately damaged up by police.

The New York Police Division was not instantly capable of touch upon whether or not there had been any arrests.

Tsai was final in america in March, however her stops this time might be unusually lengthy, as usually she spends only a night time at a time in transit.

The U.S. State Division has mentioned there had been no change within the U.S. “one-China” coverage, beneath which Washington formally recognises Beijing and never Taipei, whereas helping Taiwan.

Nevertheless, analysts mentioned the prolonged stopovers served to stress the Trump administration’s help for Tsai at a time when she has been coming beneath growing strain from Beijing, a serious U.S. safety rival with which Washington has been engaged in a year-long commerce conflict.

Talking earlier than departure at Taipei’s primary worldwide airport at Taoyuan, Tsai mentioned she would share the values of freedom and transparency with Taiwan’s allies, and was trying ahead to discovering extra worldwide house for Taiwan.

“Our democracy has not come easily and is now facing threats and infiltration from overseas forces,” Tsai mentioned, with out being particular.

“These challenges are also common challenges faced by democracies all over the world,” she mentioned. “We will work with countries with similar ideas to ensure the stability of the democratic system.”


Taiwan has been attempting to shore up its diplomatic alliances amid strain from China. Taipei now counts solely 17 international locations as diplomatic allies, nearly all small Central American, Caribbean or Pacific nations.

Tsai might be visiting St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and Haiti on her abroad tour.

In New York, Tsai will meet with members of the Taiwanese group and U.N. ambassadors of allied international locations.

The State Division described Tsai’s go to as “private and unofficial” and mentioned she can be greeted in New York by James Moriarty, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei. It didn’t reply when requested if Tsai would have contact with some other U.S. officers.

Searching for to bolster Taiwan’s defences, america this week permitted an arms sale price an estimated $2.2 billion for Taiwan, regardless of Chinese language criticism.

Tsai, who’s up for re-election in January, has repeatedly known as for worldwide help to defend Taiwan’s democracy within the face of Chinese language threats. Beijing has frequently despatched army plane and ships to circle Taiwan on drills up to now few years.

Douglas Paal, who served as U.S. consultant to Taiwan from 2002 to 2006, mentioned Tsai’s prolonged stopovers confirmed U.S. approval for the “caution and restraint” she had proven in her dealings with Beijing.

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“It makes sense to reinforce that with generous transit treatment,” he mentioned. “This is also … a message to China. The U.S. government believes Tsai is behaving responsibly in respecting the framework of U.S.-China-Taiwan relations.”

Paal mentioned the Trump administration had but to point a big shift within the conventional U.S. method to Taiwan, however this might change within the occasion of a deterioration of U.S. relations with Beijing.

“It’s like an engine running at a high idle,” he mentioned. “Trump has not engaged the gears, but there is a lot of activity at lower levels seeking to upgrade relations. So change has not occurred in a big way yet, but it could happen at any time. With unpredictable consequences.”

Reporting by I-Hwa Cheng; Further reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei and David Brunnstrom in Washington; writing by Ben Blanchard; enhancing by Leslie Adler and James Dalgleish

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