Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te left for the United States on Saturday (August 12), embarking on a journey that displeased China. Reuters reported that Taiwan’s national security officials are worried that China will resort to more military activities around Taiwan, sell war fears and affect next year’s presidential election.
Lai Qingde’s trip is to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new president of Paraguay, Taiwan’s friendly country, Santiago Pena (Santiago Pena), and transits between New York on the east coast and San Francisco on the west coast. Neither Taiwan nor the United States disclosed the specific itinerary of Lai Qingde during his transit.
Beijing reacted angrily despite repeated assertions from Taipei and Washington that the stopovers were the norm and that China had no reason to take “provocative” actions.
Taiwan officials said that China may use Lai Ching-de’s transit in the United States as an excuse, comparing former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August last year and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with US House Speaker Kay in Los Angeles in April this year. Kevin McCarthy, military drills near Taiwan next week.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has stepped up its efforts to harass Taiwan this week. According to statistics from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, there were 33 sorties on Wednesday that crossed the center line of the strait and entered the air defense identification zone.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense emphasized that the national military’s use of joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance means can closely grasp the situation around the Taiwan Strait, including the Communist Army’s regional routine exercises, which will continue to monitor and adapt accordingly.
Lai Qingde is currently the frontrunner in the presidential election to be held in January next year. In the past, he called himself a “pragmatic Taiwan independence worker” and was the candidate that Beijing most dislikes on the stage. Taiwanese officials say one of the purposes of China’s military exercises is also to intimidate Taiwanese voters into fearing war and voting for the candidates Beijing wants.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of China, said last week that Lai Qingde’s “transit” to the United States was to “rely on the United States to seek independence” and to fulfill his “Taiwan independence” promise of “walking into the White House” and to seek personal interests in the election, which ultimately damaged the It only affects the interests of the people of Taiwan and undermines the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait region.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Yongjian said on Thursday that Vice President Lai was visiting in an official capacity, not as a candidate. It has been a long-established practice for the head of state and vice president of Taiwan to transit through the United States during their visits, and there is nothing special about it. There is no reason for China to overreact or take the opportunity to escalate the situation. If China decides to take the opportunity to take provocative actions, then it is China, not Taiwan, and not the United States that will undermine the status quo of regional peace and stability.
Lai Qingde posted on the social platform X (formerly known as Twitter) before departure on Saturday: “I will go to Arazon to attend the inauguration ceremony, and look forward to meeting American friends when I cross the border.” Laura Laura, President of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Laura Rosenberger responded that she looked forward to welcoming Vice President Lai to the United States.