On San Francisco stop, Taiwan’s V-P vows to take peace as his ‘lighthouse’

 Taiwan’s Vice-President William Lai has pledged during a trip to San Francisco to consider peace as his “lighthouse” and democracy as his guide, on the final leg of a trip that China has lost. Mr Lai is halting shortly in San Francisco whilst returning to Taipei after his trip to Paraguay, having stopped in New York on his way there. China, which declares Taiwan as its territory, has criticised the transit stops in the United States and called Mr Lai a separatist and a “troublemaker”.

In a speech to supporters entitled “Building a creative and prosperous nation”, Mr Lai touted chipmaker Taiwan’s important part to play in the global technology supply chain and said he would turn Taiwan into Asia’s Silicon Valley. “Here I make my pledge to everyone: Going forward, I will do all I can to strengthen Taiwan constantly and take it ahead with serenity as the lighthouse and democracy as the compass,” he said in comments carried live on Taiwanese television on Thursday.

“We have one common aim, that is to make Taiwan the MVP of the democratic world,” he said, highlighting the US sporting term “most valuable player”. “During good times and bad times, Taiwan has been closely standing together with democratic societies in the last decades. Taiwan has never been alone,” Mr Lai said, adding that Taiwan-US ties are “unprecedentedly good”. Taiwanese officials have said China is tentatively going to enforce military activities this week on the edge of the island, using Mr Lai’s US stopovers as a pretext to intimidate voters ahead of the 2024 election and make them “fear war”.