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>> Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen will travel through Houston and San Francisco during her January visit to allies in Latin America, her office said Friday. And those short stateside stops are infuriating the Chinese who are now repeating a call for the US to block the trip. Reuters Ben Blanchard is in Beijing.
>> The Chinese government has already warned the United States not to allow Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen to transit through the United States. So this announcement today, this formal announcement that she will be transiting through San Francisco and Houston next month, is bound to elicit a rather strong reaction from China.
Both Texas and California have fairly large overseas Taiwanese communities. So, one of the things we can expect when President Tsai is there is that she will meet members of the overseas Taiwanese communities. She may also meet local US government officials including possibly quite senior state level officials.>> The trip inflaming tensions with the government in Beijing, already steamed over President-elect Donald Trump's unprecedented telephone call with Tsai shortly after his election victory.
Mainland China considers Taiwan a rogue breakaway province. It fears official recognition of Taiwan's leader may be a small step towards officially recognizing the island's independence.>> Of course with President Tsai transiting through the United States, all eyes will be on whether or not she will meet with any of Donald Trump's team, or maybe even Donald Trump himself.
Now, the fact that she's transiting through Texas and California, rather than New York, means that perhaps she will not be. But of course, we still don't know at this stage. Taiwanese Presidential spokesman, today, declined to comment on whether or not there would be any meetings.>> Escalating tensions, China, this week, sent its sole aircraft carrier and several warships on maneuvers close to Twain.
Beijing said the boats were conducting routine drills. Taiwanese leaders have visited and passed through the US before and the US is unlikely to interfere with her travel plans. Tsai will leave Taiwan on January 7th and return January 15th.