Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lee confirmed that President Tsai Ing-wen met Stephen Yates Wednesday evening and the two had a deep conversation for three hours.
Known as a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and the current chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, Yates arrived in Taipei on Tuesday and has been rumored to meet Tsai during his visit. The foreign minister confirmed the meeting Thursday morning but said that he has no knowledge of the conversation because he did not attend the gathering.
Tsai was reported accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party legislators Lo Chih-cheng and Hsiao Bi-khim, and Yates was with a friend of his.
Lo told the media Thursday morning that the five had a pleasant meeting. Lo continued to say that “Yates has been interacting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's camp, thinking both Trump and his team are friendly to Taiwan.”
“Yates accentuated that how the sentiment is going to be translated into its foreign policy would take time to watch,” Lo added.
Yates was said to have advised Tsai to watch how U.S. public opinion has been shaping public policy and to interact with American grassroots aside from political elites. Tsai was said to have agreed with the idea.
Speaking of Tsai's transit visit in the U.S. slated for next January, Yates was quoted by Lo as saying that he advised to keep a low profile.
On the same day, Foreign Minister David Lee denied the rumor that Tsai might seek a meeting with Trump during a planned transit in the U.S. en route to Central America, saying that New York has never been an option when officials look at possible points of transit during Tsai's second official trip abroad.