At the event, Tsai was awarded this year’s Global Leadership Award from the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based conservative think tank. Previous US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have received these awards.
When he presented Tsai with the award, Hudson Institute President John Walters praised her as a leader in the struggle to contain Chinese aggression in Asia.
“The Chinese Communist Party fears her because she and Taiwan are an inspiration to the Chinese people who want independence and yearn for democracy,” Walters said. “Her war – their war – our war.”
US says Taiwan president is passing. China is not amused.
Tsai offered firm remarks in the face of Beijing’s threats, stressing that Taiwan “will never give in to pressure.”
“Taiwan has long endured the danger of living next door to an authoritarian neighbor,” he told a crowd of conservative figures at a hotel in midtown. Tsai said Taiwan does not seek conflict, reiterating its commitment to maintaining calm in the Taiwan Strait.
He is spending two days in New York on his way to Central America, but his visit is deliberately low-key – he makes no media appearances while in the US – to avoid antagonizing Beijing.
His speech came at the end of a day exploring New York City’s culinary delights in meetings with Taiwanese American chefs and restaurant owners. Crowds of supporters and protesters followed Sai around the city, some carrying signs with messages such as “Welcome Taiwan President” and others waving Chinese flags and banners calling him “a big traitor to China”.
Slope’s first visit in three years has done more than draw attention to New York’s restaurant scene. Despite the global campaign to isolate Taiwan, it reminds Beijing that few issues garner more support on both sides of the aisle in Washington than defending Taiwan’s democracy against Chinese aggression.
There is uncertainty over how China will respond to the visit. Beijing has threatened retaliation if Tsai attends a scheduled meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in California next week.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said the visit was a pretext for “Taiwan independence separatist forces” in Washington.
Washington insists Tsai is en route to Central America. But his visit comes at a time when Russia’s war in Ukraine has heightened the focus of lawmakers in Washington on supporting Taiwan’s democracy in the face of China’s authoritarianism.
A planned meeting with McCarthy at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., has already changed from McCarthy’s original intention to visit Taiwan, sparking an outcry following House Speaker Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit to Taiwan last year. China’s military response included a simulated blockade of the island.
The Biden administration is trying to downplay the tilt’s trip. Last week, National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan held a call with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, and insisted the trip was routine.
But Beijing may interpret a meeting with a senior official like McCarthy as having bigger ramifications than Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, said Jingdong Yuan, a professor who focuses on China’s security policy at the University of Sydney.
“Meetings with senators and representatives are more or less routine, but few in quality and number — so Chai’s planned meeting with McCarthy will be of great significance,” Yuan said.
The military balance on both sides of the Taiwan Strait has changed dramatically over the past 30 years, Yuan added. “The US Position in the Western Pacific and the [People’s Liberation Army]”It’s undergoing significant changes — the Chinese military has many ballistic and cruise missiles, which pose a much greater threat to U.S. military assets,” Yuan said.
McCarthy’s meeting with Taiwan’s president has alerted the US
Under Washington’s “one-China policy,” which acknowledges but does not recognize Beijing’s claims that Taiwan is part of China and that the Chinese Communist Party is its sole government, Tsai cannot travel to the United States on an official state visit.
In keeping with this policy, Chai’s trips are coordinated between two entities that act as embassies in all but name.
John F. Laura Rosenberger at Kennedy International Airport, who recently left the National Security Council to head the American Institute in Taiwan, an unofficial organization that manages relations between the United States and Taiwan. He has no other meetings scheduled with members of the Biden administration.
And Tsai met with ambassadors from countries that recognize Taiwan at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office on Thursday. Called Techro, it donated $100,000 to Hudson in 2021, according to the think tank’s most recent annual report.
Since then, Taiwan’s leaders have pushed the boundaries of acceptable, yet unofficial, activities in the United States. On an earlier trip in 2019, Tsai met with members of Congress and even hosted a dinner for United Nations representatives from Taiwan’s allies.
At a dinner with the Taiwanese diaspora community on Wednesday night, Tsai hailed Taiwan as a “beacon of democracy in Asia”. The dinner was attended by New Jersey Governor Bill Murphy, Deputy Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly Raj Mukherjee, New Jersey State Sen. Gordon Johnson, and New York State Sen. Ivan Chu, all Democrats.
After formalizing relations with Beijing, Taiwan severed relations with Honduras
Taiwan’s leaders have been in constant negotiations with Washington over their reception in the U.S. since President Lee Teng-hui first traveled through Hawaii in 1994 — he was not granted a visa and never got off his plane. . Lee’s later visit would escalate China’s military aggression in what became known as the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis.
This week, Tsai is in New York for two days to improve relations with the island democracy’s only remaining diplomatic allies, Guatemala and Belize.
At the same time, his predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, made a major trip as the first former Taiwanese president to visit China, where he emphasized the shared history and ties between peoples on both sides of the strait. Ma belongs to the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, an opposition party that favors closer ties with China.
Beijing welcomes Ma’s arrival but refuses to engage with the tilt.