Vice President William Lai (賴清德) is to transit through California and hold talks with US officials on his way to and from Honduras, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said in a statement yesterday.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) named Lai as her envoy to the inauguration ceremony of Honduran president-elect Xiomara Castro on Thursday next week.
The trip would be the first time that Lai has traveled overseas since taking office in May 2020.
Lai would depart from Taiwan on Tuesday next week and arrive the next day in Los Angeles, where he would stay over before traveling to the Central American nation on Thursday, Chang said.
After wrapping up his visit in Honduras on Saturday next week, Lai would make a stopover in San Francisco before returning to Taiwan the following day, he added.
During his stopovers in the US, Lai would have meetings by telephone and via video link with US government officials and political representatives, as well as members of the overseas Taiwanese community, Chang said, without providing further details.
No in-person meetings have been arranged due to COVID-19 concerns, he added.
Chang said the US government would provide the 26-member Taiwanese delegation with a reception and treatment of a “high standard.”
The governments of Taiwan and the US talked about Lai’s COVID-19 vaccination and agreed that he did not need an additional one.
The US requires visitors to be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine on its list of approved vaccines.
However, Lai received three doses of the Taiwan-made Medigen vaccine, which has yet to be added to the US list.
While in Honduras, Yui said that Lai is expected to interact with foreign dignitaries at the ceremony, including US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is to lead a US delegation.
Lai would meet with Castro to convey Tsai’s congratulations and discuss matters related to bilateral ties, Yui said.
Castro’s win in the Nov. 28 presidential election made her the first female president of the Central American country, which first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan more than 80 years ago.
The victory of the 62-year-old wife of ousted former Honduran president Jose Manuel Zelaya had previously raised concerns about Honduran ties with Taiwan, as she said during her campaign that she might switch recognition to China if she won.
However, two senior members of Castro’s transition team last month said that the incoming government would maintain diplomatic ties with Taipei.
Also last month, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said Castro’s team had promised that Honduras’ diplomatic ties with Taiwan would remain unchanged.
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