Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen set out on a 10-day trip to Central America on March 29, 2023, passing through the United States twice. Tsai’s visit to Central America came after Honduras’ decision to sever diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing as well as it is anticipated that Paraguay will do the same following the upcoming elections in April. Tsai Ing-wen said after arriving in New York City that relations between Taiwan and the United States have “closer than ever.” The White House’s national security spokesman John Kirb said, the United Stated wanted a “normal, uneventful transit,” he added that this is Tsai’s seventh transit through the United States while serving as Taiwan’s President.
During her transit in US, Tsai Ing-wen praised the island’s ties with the United States. Earlier, Tsai praised Taiwan as a beacon of democracy in Asia and proclaimed that despite the enormous problems it faced, the island would not be left cut off. Tsai said, “We have demonstrated a firm will and resolve to defend ourselves, that we are capable of managing risks with calm and composure and that we have the ability to maintain regional peace and stability.”
On Tsai’s way back to Taiwan, she is expected to meet with Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles, making it the first time a Taiwanese leader met with a House Speaker in the United States. China denounced any such meeting and warned that it could result in “serious confrontation” if it goes forward. Moreover, Taiwan Affairs Office and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs both have condemned the visit of Taiwanese President. According to China’s charge d’affaires Xu Xueyuan, Tsai’s transit through the United States might result in a serious dispute between the US and China and have a “severe impact” on bilateral relations between the two countries. As per Xu, ‘What the United States has done seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and the US should bear “all consequences” for its actions. Previously, when Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker at the time, visited Taiwan in August last year, China retaliated by conducting several days of extensive military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, which included firing ballistic missiles. Due to the complicated nature of the conflict between China and US over Taiwan, it is believed that tensions will continue to grow and become more complex in the future.
Research Associate, Pakistan House