President Tsai in the US
President Tsai Ing-wen has arrived in New York as she begins her first overseas trip since July of 2019 with a two-day stopover in the city before flying to Guatemala on 1 April.
Tsai and her delegation were greeted on their arrival at John F Kennedy International Airport by newly appointed American Institute in Taiwan chairperson Laura Rosenberger.
Taiwan's top envoy in the US, Hsiao Bi-khim and the head of Taiwan's representative office in New York, James Lee also greeted the delegation. Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Xavier Chang says Tsai went directly to her hotel after leaving the plane before attending a banquet organized by overseas Taiwan's associations, where she'll be meeting with US dignitaries. Tsai is also expected to address an event hosted by the Hudson Institute and receive a "global leadership award" from the think tank while in New York, but Chang says further details of Tsai's itinerary will be announced in due course.
Tsai will be flying to Guatemala on April 1 and to Belize on 3 April before touching down in Los Angeles on the morning of 5 April for a transit. She's expected to meet with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and deliver a speech at the Reagan Library while in California before returning to Taiwan on 7 April.
The White House is calling on Beijing not to use President Tsai Ing-wen's transits in the US as a pretext to increase aggression against Taiwan. White House national security spokesperson John Kirby described Tsai's stopovers as "the latest in a series of routine transits" and said China should not use them as an excuse "to step up any activity around the Taiwan Strait." Kirby went on to say that Washington is "mindful that things are tense right now" between the U-S and China, Kirby and Beijing should keep lines of communication open. The statements come after Beijing threatened to retaliate if Tsai meets with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a stopover in Los Angeles.
A spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office has denounced Tsai's stopovers and demanded that no US officials meet with her. China's foreign ministry is accusing the US of "conducting dangerous activities that undermine the political foundation of bilateral ties" and says it will be closely following developments, with an eye towards defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity.