President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is slated to visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, today — a visit of political significance, as it would be the first time a president from Taiwan has entered a US federal building in their official capacity after US President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act in March.
The Taiwan Travel Act allows high-level US officials to visit Taiwan and vice versa, breaking from previous US policy that did not permit bilateral visits by Cabinet-level ministers, but allowed Taiwanese presidents to transit through US cities en route to other countries.
Tsai arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday last week en route to Paraguay and Belize, two of Taiwan’s 18 diplomatic allies. On her return trip, she arrived in Houston yesterday for a 27-hour transit.
The president is to return to Taiwan late tomorrow.
Speaking to reporters accompanying her on the trip, Tsai on Friday said that Washington followed its four principles of providing travelers “safety, comfort, convenience and dignity,” as it has done in the past.
“I am grateful to the US for arranging the stopovers,” Tsai said.
When Tsai was in Los Angeles, she visited the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office’s Culture Center, making her the first Taiwanese president to visit one of the country’s representative offices in the US.
She also gave a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, her first public address in the US since she became president.
Earlier on Friday when speaking at the Belizean National Assembly, Tsai promised to strengthen cooperation with the Central American country in various fields, including education, economy, agriculture and infrastructure.
In her address, Tsai said that Taiwan would increase its number of scholarship students from Belize and would invite young Belizeans to join short-term vocational training programs in Taiwan.
The country would also work with Belize’s Institute for Technical, Vocational and Educational Training to improve the quality of vocational education in Belize to better prepare young people for the job market, Tsai said.
In terms of the economy, she said she would continue to encourage delegations from Taiwan’s business sector to visit Belize and develop further trade relationships with the cocoa and coffee industries there.
Bilateral ties between Taiwan and Belize would also be enhanced via Taiwan’s Official Development Assistance program, which would assist Belize in improving its infrastructure, including the construction of new roads and hospitals, Tsai said.
Taiwan’s longstanding friendship with Belize is also manifested by its dedication to helping its ally provide medical care and restore its cultural heritage, Tsai said.
“The friendship between Taiwan and Belize is not built on empty promises or the political whims of our leadership. This is a friendship that, for the past 29 years, has led to results; results that have benefited people from both countries,” Tsai said.
Additional reporting by Su Yung-yao
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority
A group of overseas Taiwanese in Norway are taking a case on their national identity to the European Court of Human Rights — with plans to file the case in the first half of next year — after Norway’s Supreme Court rejected their appeal to change their listed nationality from “China” to “Taiwan,” Joseph Liu, a Taiwanese lawyer living in Norway, told reporters on Monday. One of the initiators of the movement, “My Name, My Right,” Liu and his group plan to hire lawyers from the UK and France who know European law and have knowledge of Asia to represent them,