TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will visit Caribbean allies in mid-July, making transit stops in New York and Denver, a report said on Friday.
The president’s trip to Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and Saint Kitts and Nevis next month will last more than 10 days, with nearly half of it spent in the U.S. cities, reported the Liberty Times. Tsai's schedule will be "tight" as she meets with important American political figures, according to the report.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) declined to confirm the information, saying details about the president’s foreign visits, including itineraries and stopover destinations, are still being arranged.
The Presidential Office will make an announcement if plans regarding the president’s visits are finalized, MOFA said on Friday via a statement. The Presidential Office also declined to confirm the information.
The media was urged not to speculate on the matter, as this could undermine diplomatic efforts. The ministry has always planned the president’s visits based on security, dignity, comfort, and convenience, MOFA added.
Rumors that Tsai would soon make a seventh state visit have been widespread in the past month. This will be her first visit as president to the three Caribbean countries.
Even though Taiwan and the U.S. do not have diplomatic relations, the U.S. government has in the past allowed Taiwan’s presidents to make transit stops during the course of trips to Latin American and Pacific nations.
During visits to allied nations, former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) also made stops in New York. Such an arrangement is generally considered an important indication of Taiwan-U.S. ties due to the significance of the city itself and its relative proximity to the U.S. capital, the report said.
Earlier reports hinted that Tsai could even make a layover in Washington, D.C., following the passage of the U.S. Taiwan Travel Act and the deepening of the Taiwan-U.S. relationship. However, the prospect of a Taiwanese president visiting Washington D.C. is a sensitive topic, as it would likely anger Beijing, which opposes any formal interactions between countries it has diplomatic relations with and Taiwan.