Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in New York on a sensitive U.S. stopover on Wednesday, vowing en route not to let external pressure prevent the island from engaging with the world after China threatened retaliation if she met U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
China, which claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory, has repeatedly warned U.S. officials not to meet Tsai, who is on her first U.S. stopover since 2019, seeing it as showing support for the island’s desire to be seen as a separate country.
China staged major war games around Taiwan in August when then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei. Taiwan’s armed forces say they are watching for any Chinese moves when Tsai is abroad.
Tsai is en route to Guatemala and Belize, two of the few countries that recognise Taiwan diplomatically. She will stay in New York until Saturday and will also visit Los Angeles on her return from Central America. She is expected to meet McCarthy in California, although this is not officially confirmed.
“External pressure will not hinder our determination to go to the world,” Tsai said before departure at Taiwan’s main international airport at Taoyuan.