TAOYUAN, Taiwan (Reuters) – Taiwan Vice President William Lai returned on Friday from a delicate go to to the US, thanking Taiwanese individuals supporting a visit he mentioned confirmed the island’s “self esteem” venturing into the worldwide neighborhood.
“Due to everybody’s exhausting work, Taiwan’s energy is stronger and stronger, and it confirmed the worldwide neighborhood that Taiwan is a drive for good, that the worldwide neighborhood actually pays nice consideration to Taiwan,” he mentioned.
Lai formally solely made transits in the US, first in New York after which in San Francisco, on his solution to and from Paraguay to attend the brand new president’s inauguration in one in all solely 13 international locations that maintains formal ties with Taipei.
Whereas in the US, he gave speeches to the Taiwanese neighborhood and met officers from the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a U.S. government-run non-profit that handles unofficial relations.
China claims Taiwan as its territory and denounced the transit stops within the U.S., calling Lai a separatist and a “troublemaker”.
Taiwanese officers have mentioned China is more likely to conduct navy workouts this week close to the island, utilizing Lai’s U.S. stopovers as a pretext to intimidate voters forward of subsequent yr’s presidential election and make them “worry struggle”.
Talking at Taiwan’s primary worldwide airport at Taoyuan after stepping off his flight, Lai made solely passing point out of his U.S. stopovers, concentrating as an alternative on Paraguay and pledges of assist he acquired there.
“Thanks to your contributions to the nation and to society,” he mentioned, “permitting Taiwan to very progressively, self confidently and respectfully go into the worldwide neighborhood, and successful the assist of the worldwide neighborhood.”
Lai is frontrunner to be Taiwan’s subsequent president at elections set for January. President Tsai Ing-wen can’t run once more after two phrases.
China particularly dislikes Lai due to feedback he has beforehand made about being a “sensible employee for Taiwan independence”, although he has pledged on the marketing campaign path to take care of the established order and provided talks with Beijing.
(Reporting by Fabian Hamacher; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Modifying by David Gregorio)