President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) transit through the US after her visit to three of Taiwan’s Pacific allies is standard practice, the US Department of State said on Thursday.
“President Tsai’s transit through the United States is based on long-standing US practice, and is consistent with the unofficial nature of our relations with Taiwan,” the department said in a statement.
Tsai on Thursday arrived in Palau on the first stop of her eight-day trip to Palau, Nauru and the Marshall Islands, her sixth overseas visit and her second trip to the nation’s Pacific allies since taking office in May 2016.
She is scheduled to stay in Palau until today and Nauru from tomorrow to Monday, before arriving in the Marshall Islands on Tuesday for the first-ever Pacific Women Leaders’ Coalition Conference, which is to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The president is to fly from the Marshall Islands to Hawaii for a stopover on Wednesday, and is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan at 8:20pm on Thursday, the ministry said.
“These transits are undertaken out of consideration for the safety, comfort, convenience and dignity of the traveler,” the department said.
“There has been no change to the US’ ‘one China’ policy, which is based on the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act,” it said.
The Taiwan Relations Act was enacted in 1979 after Washington severed ties with Taipei, with the aim of defining future unofficial relations between the US and Taiwan.
“President Tsai’s transits will be private and unofficial,” the department said.
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty is to greet Tsai when she arrives in Hawaii, it said, emphasizing that the AIT is the institution that carries out Washington’s unofficial ties with Taipei.
The statement reiterated that the US encourages authorities in Taiwan and China to “engage in constructive dialogue that seeks a peaceful resolution of differences acceptable to the people of both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”
In Palau yesterday, Tsai met with Palauan President Tommy Remengesau.
The two participated in a tree-planting ceremony, during which Tsai planted a Jinhuang mango sapling and Remengesau planted an Irwin mango sapling to represent the two nations’ close ties.
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