Taiwanese Vice Prez arrives in San Francisco despite Beijing’s discontent

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Taiwanese Vice President and presidential candidate Lai Ching-te on Thursday arrived in San Francisco on his way back from Paraguay despite Beijing’s condemnation of the transit visit, and was received by US National Security Council Senior Director for China and Taiwan Laura Rosenberger and Taiwan’s representative to the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim.

“Excited to be back in #SanFrancisco, and looking forward to seeing many of our friends in the #BayArea. Thank you [Rosenberger] & [Hsiao] for greeting me at the airport,” Lai said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Lai said on Saturday night that he had arrived in New York, making a transit stop there on his way to Paraguay, where he planned to attend the inauguration of Paraguayan President-elect Santiago Pena. China has expressed strong dissatisfaction with the transit through the US and condemned Lai’s visit to the country.

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. Taiwan’s incumbent leader, Tsai Ing-wen, is ineligible to run again as she has already served two consecutive terms as president.

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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