Tsai Ing-wen China urges US to block transit by Taiwan President

President-elect Donald Trump irked Beijing by speaking to Tsai in a break with decades of precedent.

  • Published:
Donald Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that upended nearly 40 years of diplomatic protocol and raised questions about whether the US president-elect intends to pursue a hard line against Beijing play

Donald Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that upended nearly 40 years of diplomatic protocol and raised questions about whether the US president-elect intends to pursue a hard line against Beijing

(AFP/File)
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China has called on the United States not to let Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen transit when she visits Guatemala in January, a media report said on Tuesday in Beijing.

China made the call days after President-elect Donald Trump irked Beijing by speaking to Tsai in a break with decades of precedent.

“China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, whom it thinks wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a self-governing island nation that Beijing regards as a renegade province,’’ it reported.

Her call with Trump on Friday was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president with a Taiwanese leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979.

“Tsai is due to visit Guatemala, one of its small bands of diplomatic allies, on Jan. 11 to Jan.12,’’ its Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales told newsmen.

He gave no details on what President Jimmy Morales and Tsai would discuss.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Liberty Times has reported on Monday that she was planning to transit in New York early January on her way to visit Central American allies Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Taiwan has not formally confirmed Tsai’s trip, but visits to its allies in the region are normally combined with transit stops in the U.S. and meetings with Taiwan-friendly officials.

Asked about the possibility of a Tsai stopover in the U.S., China’s Foreign Ministry said the “one China” principle, which states Taiwan is part of China, was commonly recognised by the international community.

“As for the issue you raise of a ‘transit’ in the U.S. by the leader of the Taiwan region, her real aim is self-evident.

“China hopes the U.S. does not allow her transit, and does not send any wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces,’’ the ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan has been self governing since 1949 when Nationalist forces fled to the island after defeat by Mao Zedong’s communists in China’s civil war.

Taiwan’s Presidential Office said media reports about a January trip were “excessive speculation”.

In Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang reiterated that any presidential travel details would be issued at the appropriate time.

El Salvador’s government said it was working with Taiwan on plans for a visit by Tsai in the second week of January, but gave no specific dates.

However, the government of Nicaragua had no immediate comment.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is set to be sworn in for a third consecutive term on Jan. 10, however, so Tsai’s trip to Guatemala would dovetail with that ceremony.

It added that the trip would take place before Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, and Tsai’s delegation would seek to meet Trump’s team, including his White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

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