Pacific News Minute: Taiwan President visits Pacific Allies
President Trump stops over in Hawaii at the end of this week, on his way to a twelve day trip to Asia, his first as President. Stops include Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, but he begins with a visit to Pearl Harbor, which saw another President stop by LAST weekend. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.
Tsai Ing-Wen, the President of Taiwan, arrived in Honolulu last Friday.
A private and unofficial visit, in line with long standing American policy which recognizes just one China. The big one on the mainland with the world’s second largest economy. Beijing issues “stern representations” to Washington every time the leader of what it regards as a breakaway province makes one of these stop-overs. The last was in Houston and San Francisco on her way to and from Latin America last January.
The visit to Hawaii included a tour of the U.S.S. Arizona memorial, a quick stop for shaved ice, and a banquet.
Mainland China increased both military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan after Tsai’s election last year. Beijing believes that she supports formal independence. China stepped up military exercises in and around the Taiwan Strait and persuaded some of Taipei’s dwindling number of diplomatic allies to switch formal recognition to Beijing. Six of Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic partners are in the Pacific and President Tsai hopes to bolster relations with three on this trip – the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands.
Her visit to Honiara comes as the government of Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare appears on the brink of collapse; nine ministers resigned over the weekend with a vote of no confidence scheduled for next week. On her way home, President Tsai makes a stopover in Guam.