China’s Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai’s visit to the United States on Saturday and has vowed to retaliate. Beijing reiterated its opposition to any form of diplomatic communication between Washington and Taipei. Lai, who is considered a strong contender in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election, arrived in New York on Saturday before heading to Paraguay for the inauguration of its new president.
According to a statement issued by an unnamed spokesperson from the Foreign Ministry, Beijing firmly opposes any visit by “Taiwan independence” separatists to the US. They consider Lai a troublemaker and argue that his visit seriously violates the One China principle and undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. China has stated that it is closely following the developments and will take resolute and strong measures to protect its national interest.
Upon his arrival in New York, Lai expressed his excitement to see friends and participate in transit programs on X (formerly Twitter). The diplomat is expected to meet with Taiwanese expatriates at a low-key reception in New York. The visit does not include any formal talks with US lawmakers. Lai’s return trip also includes a stopover in San Francisco, where he is scheduled to meet with Laura Rosenberger, the chair of the American Institute in Taiwan.
Lai’s brief visit to the US comes at a time when Beijing and Washington are attempting to improve their relations after years of tensions. Earlier this month, the US issued a formal invitation to China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, signaling a potential meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year.
It is worth noting that while the US formally recognizes the One China principle and considers Taiwan as part of China, it maintains informal diplomatic ties with Taipei and provides it with military weaponry.
The visit by Taiwan’s Vice President Lai has sparked controversy and is seen as a provocation by Beijing. China has consistently taken a hardline stance on Taiwan and considers it a part of its territory, firmly opposing any activities that could support Taiwan’s independence. The situation between China and Taiwan remains sensitive, and any moves by either side have the potential to escalate tensions in the region.
The international community will closely watch the developments following Lai’s visit and how China’s retaliation unfolds. As the US and China strive to mend their relationship, the issue of Taiwan continues to be a significant point of contention. The delicate balance of power in the region and the potential for further escalation necessitate careful diplomacy and tactful dialogue between all parties involved.