When Tsai Ing-wen visited Washington four year ago as the DPP presidential candidate, an unnamed U.S. “senior official” leaked comments to the Financial Times expressing doubts about her ability to properly manage cross-Straits relations.
The incident was widely seen as a sign that the U.S. government favored the election of her KMT rival, Ma Ying-jeou. Now once again the DPP nominee for president, Tsai paid another visit to the U.S. capital in late May and early June, and on this trip appeared to have a better reception. On the record, U.S. officials declined to characterize the nature of the discussions with Tsai, but the talk in Washington was that this time Tsai was considered to be well briefed and well prepared. Reportedly she was the first Taiwan presidential candidate to be received at the White House, where she met with the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Asia Evan Medeiros, and at the State Department for a meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Speaking at a forum sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank, Tsai stressed the need for Taiwan to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, cited Taiwan’s “special political, security, economic, and cultural bond with the United States,” and expressed her commitment to a “consistent, predictable, and sustainable relationship with China.”