Taiwan election: China criticizes U.S. visit of presidential front-runner

Taipei, Taiwan –

China criticizes the upcoming U.S. port visit of Taiwan’s vice president and presidential front-runner William Lai as a challenge to territorial integrity, but Taiwan insists it is just a transit destination. are doing.

China views Taiwan as a secession province that can be retaken by force if necessary, and forbids diplomatic partners, including the United States, from having formal ties with Taipei. Although the United States does not recognize Taiwan as a country, it maintains strong informal ties and has promised to help defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion.

China has lodged a formal protest with the United States over Lai’s visit next month, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said at a briefing in Beijing.

“China is resolutely opposed to any form of official exchange between the United States and Taiwan,” Mao Ning said. “We resolutely refuse any visits to the United States by Taiwanese separatists under any pretext or for any reason.We also resolutely refuse any form of acquiescence or support from the United States to Taiwanese separatists and their separatist activities. reject it as

“China will closely monitor developments and decisively take strong measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it added.

A senior U.S. official said such visits were not uncommon, with 10 visits by the vice president in the past 20 years, including previous visits by Mr. He urged them to avoid using this as a pretext for interference. Or escalation across the Taiwan Strait. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity about Lai’s future travels.

The criticism is based on Secretary of State Anthony Brinken’s visit to Beijing to restore communications lines that were cut after a Chinese spy balloon was spotted flying over the United States earlier this year. Following that, US climate envoy John Kerry is visiting China for talks. The official said the U.S. had no reason for Mr. Lai’s visit to affect the restoration of communications lines between Washington and Beijing, and said Mr. Lai’s trip was private and unofficial.

Lai will be in the United States as part of a trip to attend the inauguration of Paraguay’s new president, Santiago Pena, on August 15. Taiwan’s presidential office announced Monday that Lai’s delegation will arrive in Paraguay on August 14.

Taiwanese leaders traditionally stop in the United States on their way to visit Taiwan’s remaining 13 diplomatic allies, a few of them in Latin America.

Taiwanese delegations usually meet with US officials during such visits, which has angered Beijing.

China launched a war game around Taiwan in April after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles on her way home from Central America.

Yori’s visit to Japan is particularly symbolic. That’s because Lai is the top candidate to win the January presidential election in most polls.

China considers both Tsai and Lai separatists and refuses to talk to them.

Taiwan’s presidential office has not provided details of Mr. Lai’s visit to the United States, but Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Ta-lai Yui told reporters that the visit was “set up by previous visits to South and Central America as a transit point. It will be planned according to established precedents,” he said. arranged in the United States. ”

He added that “transportation stops” are intended to ensure “comfort, convenience, safety and dignity”.


Zeke Miller, White House correspondent in Washington, The Associated Press, contributed.

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