President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday afternoon left Taiwan on a 10-day trip to Central America that includes stopovers in New York and Los Angeles.
“Through this visit, I will express my gratitude to diplomatic partners for their support of Taiwan,” Tsai said at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport shortly before boarding the plane.
The trip to Guatemala and Belize — her first overseas journey since the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping around the world in early 2020 — aims to “demonstrate Taiwan’s determination to deepen exchanges” with its Central American allies, she said.
Photo: RITCHIE B. TONGO, EPA-EFE
Tsai said that she and her delegation would also explore the possibility of expanding cooperation with Taiwan’s allies and partners in the areas of agriculture, public health, women’s empowerment, the digital economy and supply chain security.
As Taiwan plays “an indispensable role” in the restructuring of global supply chains, it must work with other countries and contribute to the economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era, she added.
The presidential delegation would stop over in New York en route to Guatemala and Los Angeles after visiting Belize, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Photo: Taiwan Presidential Office via AP
Tsai is to arrive in New York at 3am today and spend nearly two days in the city, where she is expected to address an event hosted by the Hudson Institute and receive a “global leadership award” from the think tank.
On her return trip, Tsai is to touch down on Wednesday next week in Los Angeles, where she is expected to meet with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and deliver a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
The president would be in Guatemala from Saturday to Monday and Belize from Monday to Wednesday, the ministry said.
She is to meet with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and Belizean Prime Minister John Briceno, as well as Taiwan’s technical missions and expatriates in both countries.
Tsai is to land in Taiwan on Friday next week, although the ministry has not yet announced her arrival time.
Despite a lack of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the US, Washington has over the years allowed Taiwan’s presidents to make stopovers on US soil during their trips to Latin American and Caribbean nations.
US Department of State spokesperson Vedant Patel said earlier this week that Tsai’s transits in the US are “consistent with longstanding US practice, the unofficial nature of our relations with Taiwan and US policy, which remains unchanged.”
However, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) yesterday told a news briefing in Beijing that Tsai’s stopovers in the US constitute an act of “provocation.”
Beijing would “resolutely fight back” with certain measures should Tsai and McCarthy meet, Zhu said.
The delegation traveling with Tsai consists of Presidential Office Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺), among other officials.
The delegation also includes four legislators: Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) and Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) of the Democratic Progressive Party, Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) of the Taiwan People’s Party and Claire Wang (王婉諭) of the New Power Party.
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