TAIPEI—Taiwan Vice President William Lai wrapped up his visit to the United States and Honduras with a virtual meeting with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a further show of support from Washington for the self-ruled island.
Lai went to Honduras this week for the inauguration of its new president, seeking to shore up ties with one of Taiwan’s last remaining diplomatic allies.
Only 14 countries now maintain official ties with Taiwan, viewed by Beijing as Chinese territory with no right to the trappings of a state. The Chinese regime claims the island as its own, despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with its own military, democratically-elected government, and constitution.
Stopping off in San Francisco on Friday on his way back to Taiwan, Lai said he had spoken virtually with Pelosi, one of the Democratic Party’s most high-profile politicians.
“I was pleased to meet with @SpeakerPelosi, a champion of human rights and true friend to Taiwan. We are committed to working together to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan partnership,” Lai wrote on Twitter, sharing a picture of the video call, also attended by the de facto Taiwanese ambassador in Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim.
Lai briefly talked with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris in Honduras on Thursday, a rare encounter that was highly symbolic and provoked anger in Beijing at a time of simmering tension with Washington.
The United States has no formal relations with Taiwan either, but is its most important international backer and arms supplier.
Transiting Los Angeles on his way to Honduras, Lai also spoke virtually with over a dozen members of the U.S. Congress.
Lai is a potential contender for president in Taiwan’s next election in 2024.
Taiwan has been grateful for continued U.S. support offered it by the Biden administration, which has repeatedly talked of its “rock-solid” commitment to the democratically governed island.