AFPDe Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 11:32
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has embarked on a tour of the United States and Central America. Tsai is making an official state visit to Belize and Guatemala, two countries that recognize the island, and will stop in the US on the way there and back. China is looking over the shoulder and has already threatened retaliation.
Tsai arrived in New York last night and will talk about the mutual ties between the two, among other things. The US is a major ally of Taiwan.
Although Washington maintains diplomatic ties with China, the Americans support Taiwan militarily in order to counterbalance Chinese influence in the region. President Biden has also said he will support Taiwan if China ever attacks the island.
Meeting with McCarthy
According to various media, Tsai will meet Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy in California next week. China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, sees this as provocation and threatens to “hit back hard”.
A senior Chinese diplomat in the US said the meeting could have “serious, serious, serious consequences for US-China relations”. After McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taiwan last year, China responded by holding large-scale military exercises in Taiwan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been increasing pressure on Taiwan in recent years. Last year, the number of fighter jets in Taiwan’s airspace doubled compared to 2021, raising fears of a raid.
President Taiwan in United States
In Guatemala and Belize, Tsai will mainly look to maintain support. Only thirteen countries now recognize Taiwan as a country, mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This month, Beijing lured Honduras away as an ally with promises of loans and investments. It is the ninth country to break formal relations with Taiwan since Chai came to power in 2016.
Relationship US and China
The relationship between the US and China has become increasingly tense lately. The situation around Taiwan plays a role in this, but also the war in Ukraine and the espionage balloon riot.
As a result, Taiwan has seen informal relations from the West strengthened and has recently received political delegations from the United Kingdom, Germany and the Czech Republic, among others.
The White House urged China not to use Tsai’s “normal stopover” in the US to increase aggression against Taiwan.
The eyes will also be on Tsai in his own country. There will be presidential elections in January and Tsai will have to step down after two terms. She will hope that Western allies will continue to support her party.
Her predecessor and political opponent, the pro-Chinese Ma Ying-jeou, is in China right now. It is the first time since 1949 that a former Taiwanese president has visited mainland China.
Ma emphasized ties with China there and said that “we are all Chinese”. His visit seems mainly a provocation towards the current ruler.