Tsai’s diplomacy fails to offset China friction

China / Taiwan / July 11, 2016

By DEBBY WU, Nikkei staff writer

TAIPEI — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on July 2 completed her first overseas trip since her inauguration with little incident, but developments in cross-strait relations have been far from smooth.

Tsai was invited to attend the opening ceremony of the newly expanded Panama Canal, taking the opportunity to also visit Paraguay. Taiwan’s new leader transited twice in the United States, meeting Sen. Marco Rubio and several other members of Congress. During her return transit, she held telephone conversations with former U.S. President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

For decades, Taiwan has competed with China for diplomatic recognition from the rest of the world, with both sides engaging in checkbook diplomacy and offering economic incentives to win over each other’s allies.

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July 11, 2016