Taiwan's Tsai travels in face of China diplomatic onslaught

FILE - In this April 11, 2018 file photo, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen attends a news conference in Taipei, Taiwan. When Taiwanese President Tsai I

FILE - In this April 11, 2018 file photo, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen attends a news conference in Taipei, Taiwan. When Taiwanese President Tsai I

BEIJING (AP) — When Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen departs Sunday for Latin America, she'll be traveling to a region she's already visited three times in two years.

She doesn't have many other options.

As Tsai crosses the halfway mark of her first four-year term, an eight-day swing through Paraguay and Belize is a reflection of how Taiwan's diplomatic isolation has worsened in the midst of a suffocating Chinese pressure campaign. Just 18 countries — mostly clustered in Latin America, the South Pacific and Caribbean — still maintain formal ties with the self-ruling island, down from 22 when Tsai entered office in 2016.

Since Tsai swept into power, China has worked to persuade countries to establish relations with Beijing and cut ties with Taiwan, which it considers its territory.