Taiwan: President to Visit Ally Nicaragua to Cement Ties
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian will visit ally Nicaragua next week and stop over in the US in a transit stay that has already drawn protest from China, spokeswoman said.
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian will visit ally Nicaragua next week and stop over in the United States in a transit stay that has already drawn protest from rival China, a spokeswoman said Friday.
"The president will depart late Monday and stay overnight in San Francisco on his way to Nicaragua," said Liu Shih-fang, deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office, in a late news conference in Taipei.
She said Chen, who is to attend the inauguration of Nicaraguan president-elect Daniel Ortega on January 10, will return to Taiwan on January 12 by way of another US city Los Angeles.
The planned stopovers have already drawn protest from China, which recently rapped the US for allowing Chen to transit even before Chen starts his trip.
Beijing has regarded Taiwan a part of China that has no right to attend international affairs as a sovereign state. It has warned other countries against admitting senior leaders from Taiwan and has warned the island against declaring formal independence, though the two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949.
Liu said Chen's trip is aimed at cementing ties with ally Nicaragua, which is being wooed by Beijing to switch diplomatic recognition to China.
The planned visit comes amid speculation that Nicaragua will break formal ties with Taiwan since Ortega, during campaigning for November's elections, had vowed to recognize Beijing.
But Taiwan Foreign Ministry officials maintained that there would be no problem in Taiwan-Nicaragua relations after Ortega expressed goodwill to the island by inviting Chen to attend his inauguration.
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