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Taiwan’s Vice President Makes Transit Stop in US on His Way to Paraguay

© Presidential Office TaiwanWilliam Lai Ching-te
William Lai Ching-te - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.08.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Taiwan’s vice president and presidential candidate Lai Ching-te says he has arrived in New York, making a transit stop there on his way to Paraguay.
Taiwanese deputy foreign minister Yui Tah-ray said at the start of August that Lai Ching-te was going to make transit stops in New York and San Francisco on his way to and back from Paraguay, where Lai was going to attend the inauguration of Paraguayan president-elect Santiago Pena from August 12-18.
"Happy to arrive at the Big Apple, icon of liberty, democracy & opportunities. It’s very nice of [Taiwan’s representative to US Hsiao] Bikhim and [American Institute in Taiwan] AIT’s Ingrid Larson to greet me with a warm welcome at JFK airport. Looking forward to seeing friends and attending transit programs in New York," Lai said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday night.
On July 20, Taiwan's CNA news agency reported that China considered preventing Lai's transit stopovers in the US a "top priority," as "this is a very dangerous path they [Taiwan] are taking."
In April, Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party officially nominated Lai, who also serves as its chairman, as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election. Current Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen cannot run for the office again as she has already served two consecutive presidential terms.
Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Beijing views the island as its province, while Taiwan - a territory with its own elected government - maintains that it is an autonomous country, but stops short of declaring independence. Beijing opposes any official contacts of foreign states with Taipei and considers Chinese sovereignty over the island indisputable. Taiwan currently has only a few official diplomatic allies, including Paraguay.
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