Clashes broke out on Thursday July 11th in New York between supporters and opponents of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, who is on a two-day visit to the United States, in a move that is expected to anger China.
Footage of the fights outside the hotel where Tsai is staying during her US trip was broadcast by Taiwanese media. Police broke up the clashes between the opponents of Tsai, who were waving Chinese flags and chanting slogans, and her supporters. One man was seen being detained and handcuffed.
Taiwan has long found itself in an unusual diplomatic situation owing to its "one country, two systems” doctrine. China sees Taiwan as part of its own territory and has vowed one day to seize it, by force if necessary.
"Taiwan will not succumb to intimidation," President Tsai’s office said in a statement released as the US visit kicked off, without specifically mentioning China. "All difficulties will only strengthen our determination to go out to the international community."
Meanwhile, Washington remains Taiwan's most powerful unofficial ally and biggest arms supplier. With the US currently engaged in a trade war with China, relations between Taipei and Washington have warmed considerably.
The US approved a $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan last week, including battle tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, the first big-ticket military deal for the island in years.