Taiwan's President Pushes For UN Membership During US Trip

People demonstrate outside Grand Hyatt hotel where Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is supposed to stay during her visit to the US in New York City

The article argued that the deal "harms China's sovereignty and security interests, poisons the development of military relations between China and the US, and gravely undermines the cross-strait relations and the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait".

China yesterday said it would impose sanctions on U.S. companies involved in a potential arms sale worth US$2.2 billion (S$3 billion) to self-ruled Taiwan - a move that has infuriated Beijing.

Taiwanese media broadcast footage of the clashes outside the Grand Hyatt, where Tsai is staying during her two-day USA trip.

On Thursday, police in NY had to break up fights between supporters and opponents of Ms Tsai. The official China Daily said Ms Tsai was "playing a game of brinksmanship" by building up Taiwan's military defence.

The democratic island has ruled itself for seven decades but most countries do not recognize it - including the United States, which switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

Later Thursday at a reception held in Taiwan's consular offices nearby, Tsai welcomed United Nations ambassadors from the countries, mostly in Latin America and islands in the Pacific Ocean, that recognize Taiwan despite pressure from China.

It bristles at any countries that might lend Taiwan diplomatic support or legitimacy. Inside the hall, those gathered seemed impressed by the president and respectful in their questions about Taiwan's relations with the US and China. "China trade war not despite our democracy, but rather, thanks to it", she argued, saying that Taiwan's democratic system makes it open to diverse ideas, giving it the flexibility to "break the mold when the mold no longer fits".

Tsai's trip came after the Pentagon said on Monday the U.S. State Department had approved the sale of the weapons requested by Taiwan, including 108 General Dynamics Corp M1A2T Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger missiles, which are manufactured by Raytheon.

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NEW YORK-Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in the United States on July 11 on a trip that has angered Beijing, warning that democracy must be defended and that the island faced threats from "overseas forces", in a veiled reference to China.

Tsai dismissed Chinese criticism of both her visit and the arms deal. "All difficulties will only strengthen our determination to go out to the global community".

"Part of the information war being waged against Taiwan involves them using their representatives via the media to create and disseminate fake news so as to cause division and conflict in Taiwan society", Tsai said.

She will attend a business forum on Friday and meet students on Saturday morning before heading to the Caribbean.

After her USA trip, Tsai will visit Haiti, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and St Christopher and Nevis, in an attempt to shore up support for Taiwan.

China has poached five of Taipei's dwindling number of allies since Tsai became president in 2016.

Haiti has vowed to maintain ties with Taipei despite neighbouring Dominican Republic establishing relations with China previous year.

Chinese Culture University professor Pang Chien-kuo said it was too early to say whether Tsai's USA trip would pay diplomatic dividends, but that Taiwan had to keep trying.

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