Taiwan's Vice President William Lai, during a brief stop in New York City en route to Paraguay, voiced his commitment to Taiwan's democratic values and freedom, despite facing pressure from China. He emphasized the significance of peace in the Taiwan Strait for global stability.
Drawing attention to the nation's steadfastness against external threats, Lai stated, “When Taiwan is safe, the world is safe, and when there is peace on the Taiwan Strait, there will be world peace.”
“No matter how great the threat of authoritarianism is to Taiwan, we absolutely will not be scared nor cower, we will uphold the values of democracy and freedom," he added, the Daily Wire reported.
China's negative stance on Lai's U.S. visit was clear, having earlier expressed intentions of halting such a trip. Lai's journey to New York was part of his itinerary to Paraguay, one of the few nations maintaining formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The U.S., while a key ally, does not officially recognize Taiwan.
China's Foreign Ministry did not hold back in expressing its displeasure over Lai's visit, labeling him a "staunch separatist." They warned of "firm measures" to safeguard their national interests, alluding to their past military exercises which were seemingly in response to notable Taiwan-U.S. interactions.
Observers anticipate potential military demonstrations by China following Lai's return, especially since such exercises have been frequent post high-profile visits, like those of House Speakers Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy.
Lai, currently a leading presidential candidate in Taiwan and known for his initial strong pro-independence leanings, has of late projected a balanced approach. He emphasizes the importance of letting Taiwan's citizens determine their path, suggesting a dedication to maintaining the existing dynamics with mainland China.