Taiwan’s President Stirs Controversy By Planning Two US Visits Despite China’s Objections

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Following Donald Trump’s election victory, he quickly upset China by taking a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Before anyone could answer the “seriously, did he really do that?” question, Trump bragged on Twitter (“The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today”). He then insisted he was just enjoying a nice conversation. However, China has since flexed nuclear muscles and has taken other terrifying actions to show how ticked off Bejing is at Trump’s disregard for the “one-China” policy.

A newly issued itinerary from Tsai’s camp won’t help matters. On the way to (and from) Central America for an early January voyage, Tsai will stopover twice in the U.S. The incoming administration hasn’t confirmed whether these stops (in San Francisco and Houston) will include meetings with Trump advisers, but the American Institute in Taiwan told Reuters that the visit would be “private and unofficial.” The AP reminds everyone that tensions are high, and China has objected to the stopovers:

Taiwan’s president will transit through Houston and San Francisco next month while traveling to Central America, stops that will likely irritate Beijing, which has urged Washington to prevent the self-ruled island’s leader from landing in the United States.

China has repeatedly urged the U.S. not to allow Tsai to transit through the U.S. to avoid “sending the wrong signal to Taiwanese independence forces.” Beijing regards the self-governing island as part of China and officials have raised concerns after Trump this month questioned a U.S. policy that since 1979 has recognized Beijing as China’s government and maintains only unofficial relations with Taiwan.

Reuters adds that China is “deeply suspicious” of Tsai’s intentions and suspects that she wants to push for Taiwan’s formal independence. (The island is a self-governing one, although Bejing considers it to be a “renegade province” that shouldn’t pursue relations with other states.) Trump’s refusal to honor the “one-China” policy does not bode well for future relations, but it’s not entirely unusual for U.S. lawmakers to meet with Taiwanese presidents. Marco Rubio met up with Tsai in May when she visited Miami.

It still remains to be seen whether Trump’s beef with China (which may come down to condom and toilet trademarks for him?) will prompt more hostile action from the foreign power. China has already seized a U.S. Navy drone and deployed a freaking military aircraft carrier into waters to make a point, so buckle up.

(Via Reuters, Associated Press &