Beijing condemns visit to the United States by a “separatist” presidential candidate from Taiwan

by Liz Lee and Ben Blanchard

BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) – China expressed anger on Monday over a planned visit to the United States next month by Vice President William Lai, a frontrunner for Taiwan’s presidency, which Beijing described as “separatist”, while Taipei said it was Doesn’t understand the kind of reaction. a simple stop.

It is customary for Taiwan’s leaders to pass through the United States when they visit the few countries with which the island still has formal diplomatic relations. Therefore, William Lai will have to stop in the United States before arriving in Paraguay to attend the inauguration ceremony of newly elected President Santiago Peña on 15 August.

However, this route through the United States takes on additional significance as President Tsai Ing-wen’s successor candidate, William Lai, is tipped as the favorite in most current polls for the January election. Such visits traditionally allow presidential candidates in Taiwan to discuss their campaigns with US officials.

Beijing, which considers Taiwan a rebel province and has not ruled out using force to bring it back to its fold, sees the blockade as covert US support for Taipei’s “separatist” aspirations and an affront to Chinese territorial claims. sees

Last April, Tsai Ing-wen met with Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles after returning from a trip to the US, following which China carried out large-scale military exercises around Taiwan.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Chinese government has already sent a formal complaint to the United States about William Lai’s stay.

Mao Ning said, “China firmly opposes any kind of official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan, firmly opposes secret visits by Taiwanese separatists for any reason, and strongly opposes any collusion by the United States to support the

In Washington, the US State Department responded that William Lai’s transit to the United States would be in accordance with normal practice and that China should not use this as a pretext to increase pressure on Taiwan.

A spokeswoman said, “The transits are not visits, they are not official. Transits by Vice Presidents of Taiwan are common practice… all have been without incident.”

“We explained to Beijing that there is no reason for them to overreact to this transit or to take proactive measures in the (Taiwan) Strait or to interfere in Taiwan’s election,” he said.

A US State Department spokesman said the opposition candidate for Taiwan’s presidential election is also expected to visit the United States in early autumn.

(Reporting by Liz Li in Beijing and Ben Blanchard in Taipei, with David Brunnstrom in Washington; French version Jean Terzien, Editing by Kate Enstringer)

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