TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Several U.S. politicians met President Tsai Ing-wen during a Houston stopover on her way to Central America on Sunday despite a Beijing request not to do so.
She later flew for Honduras, where she pledged to help Taiwanese enterprises embark on more yearly delegation trips to Central America allies.
Meeting with Cruz
Buzz over her trip began well before she landed in Honduras, with media speculation rife over who she would see during her transit in Houston.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas released a statement that he had met with Tsai on Sunday.
"We discussed our mutual opportunity to upgrade the stature of our bilateral relations in a wide-ranging discussion that addressed arms sales, diplomatic exchanges, and economic relations," the statement read.
Cruz defended his decision to meet with Tsai, saying that before meeting with the Taiwanese president, the Houston congressional delegation received a "curious letter" from the Chinese consulate asking members of Congress to uphold the "one China" policy and not to meet with President Tsai.
Cruz wrote, "The People's Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves."
"This is not about the PRC. This is about the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, an ally we are legally bound to defend."
Apart from meeting with Cruz, Tsai also met with Governor of Texas Greg Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and took a call from U.S. Senator John McCain.
When meeting with Abbott, President Tsai reportedly emphasized that Taiwan and Texas had engaged in trade, investment and tourism exchanges for many years. She also noted the large Taiwanese expatriate community in Texas, with over 50,000 in Houston alone.
To be continued with www.chinapost.com.tw