Taiwan Pres. Tsai Ing-wen Visits New York

    Taiwan Pres. Tsai Ing-wen Visits New York
    Last updated Mar 31, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via Al Jazeera]


    • During a stop on her way to Central America, Taiwanese Pres. Tsai Ing-wen visited New York City. At a closed-door speech on Wednesday night, she reportedly said US-Taipei relations were "closer than ever" and touted "significant progress" in economic and security cooperation.[1]
    • Coming amid rising tensions with China with the potential for armed conflict, and in keeping with US diplomatic protocol that says visits from Taiwanese leaders must be kept low-key, Tsai's visit remained largely out of the public eye.[2]
    • As Tsai said "Taiwan cannot be isolated and we do not take friendship for granted," China’s charge d’affaires, Xu Xueyuan, suggested the visit could lead to a "serious" confrontation and said the visit "undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity."[3]
    • After New York, Tsai will continue her trip south to Belize and Guatemala to shore up support from a shrinking number of countries that recognize Taiwanese sovereignty. On her way home, she is expected to meet with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in California.[1]
    • Along with McCarthy, who vowed to visit Taiwan even before assuming the speakership, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) and Laura Rosenberger, chairwoman of the American Institute in Taiwan — which functions as a de facto US embassy — were reportedly attending the event.[4]
    • The US State Dept. said: "Transits by high-level Taiwan authorities are not visits. They are private and unofficial..." Meanwhile, former Taiwan Pres. Ma Ying-jeou is currently visiting mainland China, where he urged both sides of the strait to maintain exchanges and avoid escalation.[5]


    Anti-China narrative

    China is overreacting, as this was Tsai's sixth visit to the US since becoming president in 2016. All of a sudden, though, the PRC decided to become aggressive in its language, outright threatening consequences if she has a standard unofficial meeting with US officials during her trip. This is an overreach and reactionary rhetoric from Beijing.

    Pro-China narrative

    Taiwanese officials should not behave like Tsai on the international stage, but rather like former Pres. Ma. What Ma understands is that the Taiwanese and Chinese are of the same ancestors, and for the good of both China and its territories, Taipei must act in tandem with Beijing and not encourage bad actors rooted in Western hegemony. Peaceful talks with the mainland are the only way to avoid conflict.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 68% chance that the US will respond militarily if China launches a full-scale invasion of Taiwan before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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