Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai, a leading candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, recently announced his plan to make transit stops in the U.S. next month on his way to Paraguay. This announcement has triggered a swift protest from China, which strongly objects to any action that could raise Taiwan’s international profile. China has vowed to prevent the transit stops from taking place.
Experts believe that while it is unlikely for China to succeed in blocking the stops, they could serve as a test for the already tense relations between Beijing and Washington.
Brian Hart, a fellow with the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, stated that Beijing may attempt to connect the stopover with the recent high-level engagements between Taiwan and the U.S., framing it as a provocative move by the U.S.
As of now, specific details regarding the locations of Lai’s stops in the U.S. in August and his activities there have not been disclosed. The Taiwan Presidential Office has only confirmed Lai’s attendance at the swearing-in ceremony of Paraguay’s newly elected president, Santiago Pena, on August 14.