Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in the United States late Wednesday to embark on a 10-day trip that has drawn ire from China. Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE
March 30 (UPI) -- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in the United States to begin a 10-day trip as she said she would stand for democracy and not be intimidated by Chinese threats.
Tsai arrived in New York late Wednesday night where she said she was received by Laura Rosenberger, chair of the American Institute in Taiwan and Taiwan ambassador Bi-Khim Hsiao.
"The enthusiastic welcome from so many members of the Taiwanese American community made my day and is a sure sign of good things to come for the rest of this trip," she said.
After her arrival, Tsai attended a banquet where she gave remarks alongside Rosenberger and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy as she thanked the U.S. government for "fulfilling its security commitments to Taiwan."
"We know that we are stronger when we stand together in solidarity with fellow democracies," she said. "Taiwan cannot be isolated and we do not take friendship for granted."
Tsai also touted taking steps for a "more resilient Taiwan" in a Facebook post citing "great progress on social welfare care and national defense independence."
Taiwan has the ability to meet challenges and we have gradually built a stronger Taiwan," she wrote.
Tsai said she was thankful for the Biden administration's support of Taiwan through military sales, saying it helps in the defense of democracy overall.
"The safer Taiwan is, the safer the world will be," Tsai said. "We will work hand in hand with all our democratic partners, and Taiwan will continue to firmly follow the path of democracy and freedom."
Tsai will travel to Central America and back to the United States where she is expected to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., during a trip to Los Angeles, although the potential meeting has not been confirmed.
The Chinese government warned that it would view a meeting with McCarthy as "another provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, harms China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."
China, which considers Taiwan part of its country, has long frowned upon other countries treating the island as an independent country.
"What the U.S. has done seriously undermines China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," China's charge d'affaires Xu Xueyuan said, concluding that the United States will bear "all consequences" for Tsai's trip.
U.S. officials noted that Tsai had previously stopped in the United States six times during her presidency National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tsai's travel was "private" and "unofficial."
"The People's Republic of China should not use this transit as a pretext to step up any aggressive activity around the Taiwan Strait," Kirby said. "The United States and China have differences when it comes to Taiwan, but we have managed those differences for more than 40 years."