TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on Tuesday (Jan. 25) departed for Honduras to attend President-elect Xiomara Castro’s inauguration on Jan. 28.
Lai was tapped to lead a special envoy to attend the event on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The 26-member envoy accompanying Lai includes Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Li Chun-yi (李俊俋), Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui, Taiwanese envoy to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), and Presidential Office Spokesperson Kolas Yotaka, CNA reported.
Lai will first take a one-night layover in Los Angeles, where he will be received by James Moriarty, Chairman of the American Institute Taiwan (AIT), before leaving together with Hsiao for Honduras.
On his way back to Taiwan, Lai will stop in San Francisco on the 29th, where he will make phone calls or speak virtually with U.S. officials and politicians as well as overseas Taiwanese leaders in Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵).
Tsai previously said this special trip is intended to achieve three goals: deepen the Taiwan-Honduras friendship, expand regional cooperation, and increase Taiwan’s international participation.
Additionally, U.S. Representatives Tom Tiffany and Scott Perry recently penned a letter to Harris, advising her to seize the opportunity to meet with Lai in an official capacity. A Harris-Lai meeting in Honduras would help Taiwan consolidate its relations with its remaining diplomatic allies in Latin America and send a clear message to Beijing that its influence is not welcome in the region, the lawmakers said.