Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen visits New York, protesters scuffle

Foreign Affairs

Photo by Johanna Costigan

On Monday, July 8, the U.S. approved a $2.2 billion sale of arms and military equipment to Taiwan, the fourth since Trump became president. Beijing was not amused. It will be equally unamused by this: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文 Cài Yīngwén) gave a speech in New York on Thursday in which she said “Taiwan will never succumb to any threats (from Beijing).”

From the South China Morning Post:

Taiwan will not bend to pressure from Beijing to give up its ambition of joining the United Nations, the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen told a group of UN permanent representatives at an unprecedented high-profile reception at its de facto embassy in New York on Thursday.

The event, at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, was attended by 17 officials, most of them envoys from nations with which Taiwan still has diplomatic ties, including Paraguay, Belize, Nauru, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

It was also the first of its kind to be open to the media, as Taiwan’s leaders have been prohibited from making public appearances during transit stops in the US since Washington switched its diplomatic allegiance to Beijing from Taipei in 1979.

“Taiwan will never succumb to any threats [from Beijing], now or in the future,” the presidential office quoted Tsai as saying. “Any obstacles will only strengthen Taiwan’s resolution to join the international community.”

There was a contingent of pro-CCP protesters on the streets in New York on Thursday. Johanna Costigan got some footage (they’re chanting “Tsai Ing-wen, get out!”) and photos:

Scuffles reportedly broke out later in the day. Hong Kong Free Press reports, “Opponents of Tsai – many waving Chinese flags – chanted slogans and fought with supporters, while one man was seen being detained and handcuffed by police.”


  • The New York Times report on the same event is titled Taiwan president risks infuriating China with U.S. visit (porous paywall).
  • China’s Foreign Ministry today pledged “to impose sanctions on American firms to counter the recent U.S. approval to sell weapons to Taiwan,” according to the South China Morning Post. Here is the Xinhua report.
  • The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a Twitter account with attitude, especially noticeable in tweets signed “JW,” which are written by the head of the Ministry, Joseph Wu (吳釗燮 Wú Zhāoxiè). Sample tweet: “Commie elites school their children in Western democracies. But Uyghurs get ‘centralized care’ in Xinjiang. What kind of government preys on its young people? Close the camps! Send the children home!”