Taiwan’s Tsai arrives in US to warnings from China of ‘serious confrontation’

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has arrived in the United States for a historic visit, despite warnings from China of a “serious confrontation” if she sets foot on US soil.

Ms Tsai landed in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday and is expected to make a stop in Houston, Texas, on her way to meetings with members of the US government and the US business community.

The visit is the first by a Taiwanese leader in more than 40 years and is a sign of the strengthening ties between the two countries.

However, China, which regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, has warned the US not to provide a platform for Ms Tsai to push for the island's formal independence.

In a statement on Sunday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that allowing Tsai to visit would “seriously damage China-US relations”.

He added that China would take “all necessary measures” to defend its sovereignty and national security.

The visit comes amid increasing tensions between the US and China over the trade war, human rights, and the Chinese government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The US has recently ramped up its support for Taiwan, including selling arms to the island and signing a trade deal.

Ms Tsai is expected to meet US political leaders, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, in an effort to further strengthen ties between the two countries.

Despite China's warnings, Ms Tsai is likely to receive a warm welcome in the US, as she is seen as a champion of democracy in a region dominated by authoritarian rule.