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Presidential Office declines to comment on potential meeting with Trump camp

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Tsai Ing-wen will make transit stops in Houston and San Francisco during her upcoming state visit to four of the nation's diplomatic allies in Central America, the Presidential Office announced Friday.

The announcement, made weeks after Taiwanese media reported that she planned to visit Central America, was seen as the president's effort to make her trip less contentious to Washington and Beijing.

Presidential Office Spokesman Alex Huang said Tsai would make a stopover in Houston en route to Central America and San Francisco on her return trip to Taiwan.

Huang would not say whether the president would meet with representatives of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump during her stopover in the U.S. amid media speculation that such a meeting could take place.

The office had confirmed last week that Tsai would visit Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras between Jan. 7 and Jan. 15 but it had not disclosed the locations of her U.S. transit stops as is typically the case.

Huang previously denied assertions that the delay to the transit stop announcement was due to political "pressure" from mainland China, saying that time was needed to arrange plans.

'Solid ties'

Beijing has repeatedly called on Washington not to let Tsai visit the U.S. during her upcoming trip.

The trip — Tsai's second overseas tour since she took office in May — has been in the spotlight since Sao Tome and Principe severed diplomatic relations with the R.O.C. on Dec. 21, leaving Taiwan with 21 allies.

Local media have speculated that China intended to lure away more of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, as relations between the two sides have been strained since Tsai took office in May.

Media have further suggested that Taiwan's diplomatic ties with Honduras and Nicaragua are on shaky ground ahead of Tsai's scheduled visit.

The Presidential Office and the Foreign Ministry have both asserted that relations with these allies were solid.

December 31, 2016    chiensheng.tsai@
"Everybody knows" that stop over in US is the primary objective whereas visiting the diplomatic allies is just the excuse.

That was also true of Chen Shuai-bian. Why does ROC leader have to resort to such a sneaky pants approach; no self-respect, degrading self and country--all for own political agenda.
December 31, 2016    comments@
Most likely some politicians will meet up with herself or her delegation during the transits . Very likely as well nothing will come out of the meeting(s) .

What is certain is that there will be some strong words of condemnation immediately after , from you know who and that too will pass as normal people just slap their foreheads and carry on with their lives.
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