President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday arrived in Houston for a brief transit stop on her way to Central America, a routine stopover that has been closely watched by Beijing after US president-elect Donald Trump spoke with her by telephone early last month.
Tsai touched down in Houston after setting out from Taiwan earlier in the day on her way to Honduras, the first leg of a nine-day trip. She is also to visit to Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, in that order.
Tsai was met at the airport by US Representative for Texas Blake Farenthold, American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty and Taiwan’s Representative to the US Stanley Kao (高碩泰).
The US Bureau of Diplomatic Security adopted high-level security measures for Tsai’s stopover.
When Tsai visited Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, traffic controls were imposed, and police officers escorted her, while the museum was cleared for three hours.
Tsai also visited a Formosa Plastics Corp (台灣塑膠) facility in Point Comfort and a Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠) facility in Wharton. She was accompanied by Farenthold.
Tsai is scheduled to stay in Houston for one night after attending a dinner in her honor which is to be attended by several US officials, including Farenthold, US Representative for Texas Al Green, Moriarty and about 600 expat Taiwanese.
Moriarty was quoted by a Democratic Progressive Party legislator as saying that he would continue to promote good relations between Taiwan and the US, as the two nations share common values.
The Houston stop has taken on a new significance since Tsai’s telephone call with Trump last month. It was the first reported telephone call between a Taiwanese president and a US president or president-elect since 1979.
Tsai is scheduled to make a stopover in San Francisco on Jan. 13, after leaving El Salvador on her way back to Taiwan.
It is Tsai’s second overseas trip since taking office on May 20 last year. Tsai visited Panama in June last year.
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
IMPORTS: Fifty-four million imported eggs with a value of more than NT$200 million had to be destroyed, mostly because they expired in storage facilities Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) last night announced that he would resign from his post. Local media on Sunday reported that Chen had resigned due to controversy over the ministry’s egg import program. Later that same evening, the Executive Yuan said that Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) had asked the minister to stay on to resolve the issue. Chen Chi-chung last night made public his decision to resign on Facebook, saying that this time he would not be dissuaded. Chen Chi-chung earlier yesterday apologized for the furor surrounding the egg import program, but added that misinformation had made the problems worse. The government was
AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES: The defense ministry said that it had detected 24 Chinese PLA Air Force planes entering Taiwan’s air defense zone over the previous 24 hours Chinese movements around Taiwan were “abnormal,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday, flagging recent amphibious exercises in addition to drills Taipei has observed in China’s Fujian Province. Taiwan has reported a rise in Chinese military activity over the past week as dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships, have operated around the nation. “Our initial analysis is that they are doing joint drills in September, including land, sea, air and amphibious,” Chiu told reporters at the legislature in Taipei. The “recent enemy situation is quite abnormal,” he said. The comments followed a statement from the