Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is on a trip to visit and strengthen its support among its allies its diplomatic allies in the Pacific, stopped over in Hawaii despite strong objections from China.

The Chinese considered Taiwan, part of their territory, despite the Taiwanese having a self-governed body ruling it. The Taiwanese have been in control of the island since the end of the 1949 Chinese Civil War when Mao Zedong’s communist forces drove out the Nationalists of Chiang Kai-Shek. They frequently have mentioned using force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Tsai, who China believes is seeking formal independence for Taiwan, left on Saturday on a week-long trip to three Pacific allies – Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands – via Honolulu and the US territory of Guam.

For her part, Tsai has said she wants to maintain peace with Beijing but will defend Taiwan’s democracy and security.

Earlier this week, the US State Department said Tsai’s transits through American soil would be “private and unofficial” and were based on long-standing US practice consistent with “our unofficial relations with Taiwan”.

It noted there was “no change to the US one-China policy” which recognises that Beijing takes the view that there is only one China.

Tsai is on her second trip to the US in 2017, having stopped over on a trip to Latin America. She visited Pearl Harbor and laid a wreath at the memorial site for the Battleship Arizona.

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