Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will transit through Houston and San Francisco during her January visit to allies in Latin America, her office said Friday, a move bound to anger China which a day earlier urged the U.S. to block any stopover.
Tsai’s office declined to comment on whether she would be meeting members of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s team, but the U.S. mission in Taiwan, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), said the visit would be “private and unofficial“.
Trump angered China when he spoke to Tsai this month in a break with decades of precedent and cast doubt on his incoming administration’s commitment to Beijing’s “one China” policy.
China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, who it thinks wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations.
The United States, which switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, has acknowledged the Chinese position that there is only “one China” and that Taiwan is part of it.
Tsai is transiting in the United States on her way to and from visiting Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador in that order. She will leave Taiwan on 7 January and return on 15 January.
Tsai will arrive in Houston on 7 January and leave the following day. On her return, she will arrive in San Francisco on 13 January Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang told a news briefing.
The reports said the transit did not contradict the “one China” policy.
“President Tsai’s transit through the United States is based on long-standing U.S. practice and is consistent with the unofficial nature of our relations with Taiwan“. “There is no change to the U.S. one China’ policy,” she added.
Spensley said that Tsai’s transits would be “private and unofficial“.
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communist forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to the island.
Taiwan had as many as 30 diplomatic allies in the mid-1990s, but now has formal relations with just 21, mostly smaller and poorer nations in Latin America and the Pacific and including the Vatican.