Taiwan official’s stopover in US damages China's sovereignty: Beijing

Taiwan official’s stopover in US damages China's sovereignty: Beijing

China says US arranged for Taiwan's Vice President Lai to engage in political activities under the guise of ‘transit’

By Esra Tekin

ISTANBUL (AA) – Beijing on Tuesday slammed Taiwan’s Vice President Lai Ching-te as a “troublemaker,” saying his stopover in the US damages China's sovereignty.

“The US and the island of Taiwan have arranged for Lai to engage in political activities in the US under the guise of ‘transit’,” said Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry.

Lai had a two-day "stopover" in the US while on his way to Paraguay to attend the presidential inauguration during his seven-day trip.

Wang said it “seriously violates the one-China principle and damages China's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Beijing-based daily Global Times reported.

China sees Taiwan as its “breakaway province” while Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949.

After landing in New York on Sunday, Lai met his supporters and held a luncheon with overseas Taiwanese people.

Chinese people living in the US also held protests against Lai’s layover in New York.

Lai is also a presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Progress Party in the election slated for January.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Lai said Taiwan was a "sovereign, independent country,” and he had “no plans to pursue formal independence.”

"Taiwan is already a sovereign, independent country called the Republic of China," Lai said.

“It is not necessary to declare independence," he said. "The Republic of China and the People's Republic of China are not subordinate to one another."

Meanwhile, Lai has reached Paraguay where he met president-elect Santiago Pena, who has assured that his government "will continue to uphold diplomatic relations with Taiwan."

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