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Taiwan VP returns home from eventful trip to Honduras, US

Lai Ching-te met with U.S. politicians, members of Taiwanese-American community during trip to attend Honduran Presidential inauguration

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Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te sits down with envoy to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim for lunch. (Facebook, Lai Ching-te photo)

Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te sits down with envoy to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim for lunch. (Facebook, Lai Ching-te photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) met with dozens of U.S. politicians and experts during layovers in Los Angeles and San Francisco during his trip to attend Honduran President Xiomara Castro’s inauguration ceremony.

Lai led a special delegation to Honduras on a trip packed with meetings with Honduran and U.S. officials that ended on Saturday (Jan. 29) Pacific Standard Time. “After four consecutive video conferences, the special envoy’s trip is about to come to an end. Finally, I have time to sit down with (Taiwan’s envoy to the U.S.) Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) for lunch and a chat,” Lai wrote on Facebook prior to boarding a flight back to Taiwan.

He thanked all the representative offices involved for “meticulously planning” the details of the trip, adding, “I am truly honored to work with everyone in bolstering the country’s diplomacy… Taiwan, we’re coming home!” The special envoy’s return flight was scheduled to take off on Saturday at 3 p.m. PST and is expected to land in Taiwan on Sunday (Jan. 30).

In an interview with CNA, Hsiao said Lai’s trip has been very successful. “The vice president’s trip to the U.S. allows U.S. officials to get to know Taiwan further in terms of understanding regional circumstances and Taiwan’s prospects for development,” she said.

Many American officials have been “lining up” for a chance to visit Taiwan as well, she added.

After departing Taiwan on Tuesday (Jan. 25), Lai first stopped in Los Angeles, California, where he was received by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chair James Moriarty. Lai met with 18 officials, including members of Congress, in six video conferences during the one-night layover; he also met with 44 Southern California Taiwanese-Americans via video link, CNA reported.

On Thursday (Jan. 27), the delegation led by Lai attended Castro’s inauguration ceremony, during which he met with U.S. VP Kamala Harris in public for the first time. During Lai’s stay in Honduras, he met with Castro and reportedly invited her to visit Taiwan.

As he made his way back to Taiwan, Lai made use of the 24-hour layover in San Francisco on Friday (Jan. 28) to meet with more members of the Taiwanese-American community and with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi virtually, per CNA. On Saturday, Lai held online conferences with American experts in the fields of medicine, trade, and national security for in-depth discussions, as well as with Senator Tammy Duckworth.