Taiwan president to make Central America visit amid US-China tensions

Guatemala's foreign ministry confirmed the visit, to take place January 11-12, just a week before Trump takes office on January 20.

By: AFP | Guatemala City | Published: December 22, 2016 8:01 am
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Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, is to visit Guatemala next month amid US-China tensions spurred by US president-elect Donald’s Trump speaking by telephone with the Asian leader and threating to snub Beijing’s “One China” policy. Guatemala’s foreign ministry confirmed the visit, to take place January 11-12, just a week before Trump takes office on January 20.

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The Central American country is among just 21 nations in the world that defy China’s stance to recognise Taiwan as a sovereign country. It said Tsai’s visit was to “strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation.” Her trip was also to take in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

China views Taiwan as a renegade province and fiercely opposes diplomatic recognition of it as a country. Beijing has asked the United States to prevent Tsai flying through US airspace on her way to Central America. Some reports suggest she could stop in New York to speak with Trump’s entourage.

Washington’s adherence to the “One China” policy has been questioned by Trump, who suggested he could use recognition of the island as a bargaining chip to extract trade deals from Beijing. “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” he told Fox News earlier this month.

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