Just as a strike by China Airlines flight attendants began in Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) embarked on her first diplomatic trip abroad on Friday, with visits to two diplomatic allies and a brief layover in the U.S.

Before their nine-day visit to Panama and Paraguay, President Tsai and her entourage will make a 24-hour stopover at Miami. Tsai, who was inaugurated on May 20, will attend the inauguration ceremony of the Panama Canal expansion on June 26 along with at least nine other heads of state.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) will not attend the inauguration ceremony.

In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said its officials were arranging meetings for Tsai and other leaders of Taiwan's diplomatic allies. As to the other heads of state or delegates from countries with which Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic ties, casual interactions can be expected, it said.

In the U.S., Tsai will be received by Joseph R. Donovan Jr., managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, and Stanley Kao (高碩泰), Taiwan's representative to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. Tsai is also expected to meet the Kaohsiung-born pitcher Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷) of the Marlins professional baseball team.

Raymond Burghardt, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, said that Tsai's transits were positive for the U.S. and allowed communication between the two sides. He refused to comment on which U.S. officials President Tsai will likely meet with during her visit.

First Editor: J. Michael Cole
Second Editor: Edward White