Taiwan's vice president-elect on 'personal trip' to U.S.; China objects


Taiwan’s vice president-elect and former de facto ambassador to Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim, is in the United States this week for a private visit, a senior Taiwanese official and a U.S. spokesperson said on Tuesday, a trip China said it “firmly opposes.”

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Taiwan’s vice president-elect and former de facto ambassador to Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim, is in the United States this week for a private visit, a senior Taiwanese official and a U.S. spokesperson said on Tuesday, a trip China said it “firmly opposes.”

China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, despite Taiwanese objections, and has been angered by past visits to the United States by Taiwan’s president and vice president.

Chinese Embassy Spokesperson Liu Pengyu said China “firmly opposes” any form of official interaction between the U.S. and “the Taiwan region,” and referred to Hsiao Bi-khim as “a diehard ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist.”

“We firmly oppose any visit by Hsiao Bi-khim to the U.S. in any name or under whatever pretext,” Liu said, adding that the United States should “not arrange any form of contact between the U.S. government officials and Hsiao Bi-khim.

A Taiwanese official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters Hsiao arrived in the United States this week and will spend the next few days there on a low-profile “personal trip” that includes packing up her personal belongings. The official declined to elaborate.

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department also said Hsiao was traveling “in her personal capacity to tend to personal matters” and did not respond when asked if she would be meeting U.S. officials.

“The United States has a longstanding precedent of transits by Taiwan officials and visits by candidates and Vice President-elect before they assume office,” the spokesperson said.

Hsiao was Taipei’s de facto ambassador to the United States from 2020 until last year, when she joined the Taiwanese presidential race decided in an election in January.

Hsiao, 52, is a fluent English speaker with deep connections in Washington. Diplomatic sources have told Reuters she can act as a key go-between for Taipei and Washington, which is the island’s most important arms seller and international backer despite the absence of formal relations.



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