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Tsai Ing-wen's 'transit' trips through US: Truths and Facts

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-04-07 09:20
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Protesters from Chinese American groups gather on Tuesday in front of a hotel in Los Angeles, California, the United States, where the leader of the Taiwan region Tsai Ing-wen is scheduled to stay. They expressed their concerns over Tsai's stopover in the city and said her plans to meet with US officials would damage both cross-Straits relations and China-US ties. RINGO H.W. CHIU/AP

BEIJING -- In disregard of China's strong opposition and solemn representation, the United States has allowed Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen's "transit" trip through the United States and the high-profile meeting between Tsai and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

This is clearly another provocative move made via the collusion between Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities and the United States, which jeopardizes peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, experts pointed out.

Behind Tsai's multiple "transit" trips through the United States lies the blatant and malicious intent of the DPP authorities and the United States to "seek independence by soliciting foreign support" and "use Taiwan to contain China," respectively, by colluding with each other.


The so-called "transit diplomacy" used by Taiwan leaders began at the time when Lee Teng-hui held the post and it has grown worse since Tsai took office, experts said.

Liu Kuangyu, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that since the 1990s, the United States has intensified political pressure on China and gradually compromised its commitment to the one-China principle.

Against this backdrop, Liu said, Lee, the island's leader at the time, took the opportunity to make "political breakthroughs" by making "transit" trips through the United States, and was given assistance and treated with courtesy by the US side.

Lee's successor Chen Shui-bian continued schemes to seek "Taiwan independence" and staged a show of "transit" trips through the United States with the purpose of fishing for political gains.

Historical records have shown that the United States manipulated these "transit" trips of the Taiwan leaders based on its own interests, experts pointed out. Its very aim is to "use Taiwan to contain China," set barriers for China's reunification, and curb China's development and progress. Facts have also proved that hidden behind these "transit" trips through the United States are the real purposes, which are for these Taiwan leaders to seek "breakthroughs" politically and propagate "Taiwan independence."


Tsai intends to replicate and upgrade the "Lee Teng-hui model" of making "transit" trips through the United States, Liu noted.

On March 29, Tsai started her first overseas trip since reelection, with "transit" trips through the United States featuring stops in New York and Los Angeles, respectively, on her way out and back.

Before this trip, three "transit" trips through the United States had been made by Tsai. The first one was in June 2016.

During the Donald Trump administration, the US side strengthened efforts to use Taiwan to contain China, Liu added.

In March 2018, the United States signed into law the Taiwan Travel Act. Experts said that this provided unjustified legal basis for further easing the restrictions on Taiwan politicians to make "transits" in the United States, leading to a variety of such "transits" in the aftermath, as well as the continuous escalation of collusion between the United States and Taiwan's DPP authorities.

Over the past few years, the United States has gone to greater lengths to "use Taiwan to contain China," and tried to seek more gains by manipulating the situation across the Straits and intervening in the relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, said Zhu Songling, a Taiwan studies professor with Beijing Union University.

For their part, the DPP authorities have been dreaming about breakthroughs in their relations with the United States, cooperating with the US side to the utmost and willingly serving as its pawn, said the professor. "They have utterly miscalculated the situation."

"Taiwan is far from being one of the core interests of the United States," said Zhu. "Once the United States sees its interests undermined, Taiwan can hardly escape the fate of being abandoned."


US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other politicians met with Tsai on this trip, gravely violating the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques and seriously infringing upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The meeting between Tsai and McCarthy is the most high-profile event among all previous Taiwan leaders' "transit" trips in the United States, and it provides a new rhetoric for the DPP authorities' "diplomatic breakthrough" fanfare, according to Liu.

Ahead of elections on the island in 2024, this "transit" trip is essentially political adventurism on Tsai's part, as she attempts to steal the limelight politically, seek a "status in history" and canvass for the DPP's success in the election, Liu said.

The experts noted that collusion between the United States and Taiwan's DPP authorities is intended to "use Taiwan to contain China" and "seek independence by soliciting US support" agenda.

China will take resolute and effective measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and such measures are all natural and reasonable.

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