Taipei: Taiwan's Vice President William Lai departed for his seven-day trip to Paraguay and will have a stopover in US in a transit stop which angered the Chinese side on Saturday.

Taiwan Vice President informed on the social media platform ‘X’ formerly known as Twitter and said, “Departing soon for #Asuncion to attend @SantiPenap’s inauguration & convey to him & the people of #Paraguay the best wishes of @iingwen & #Taiwan. Looking forward to meeting with @MaritoAbdo to express thanks for his staunch support & excited to meet with #US friends in transit.”

William Lai will stop for transit in New York on his way to the South American country and another in San Francisco on his return, reported the VOA news.

China has firmly reacted to Taiwan’s Lai stopover and condemned it strongly. The VOA news reported that China said there are concerns it will respond to the visits by launching military exercises in protest.

Meanwhile, the American and Taiwanese officials have characterized Lai’s stops as “routine” for Taiwanese officials. China says it firmly opposes such “sneaky visits”, especially by someone like Lai, a politician Beijing has branded a Taiwan “independence separatist.”

In the month of April this year, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen met the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, McCarthy, on Wednesday (local time) in California, The New York Post reported.

Notably, this was the first time when Taiwan's President met with a US House speaker on American soil.

The meeting between the two leaders is seen as something China extremely disapproves of and has repeatedly shown opposition to.

Ahead of their meeting, China dispatched several maritime vessels near Taiwan's coast. On Wednesday night local time, Beijing sent a "large scale patrol and rescue vessel" to the central and northern Taiwan Strait for a three-day "joint patrol and inspection" operation, China's Fujian Maritime Safety Administration said in a statement.

Last year, China fired multiple missiles and launched military drills around Taiwan after then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island. Her visit also strained the bilateral ties between US and China.

Recently, Taiwan detected the highest number of navy vessels around the country in a single day “in recent times,” reported Taiwan News.

According to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence (MND), sixteen navy vessels and fifteen Chinese military aircraft were detected in the vicinity of Taiwan.

Beijing has sent 239 military aircraft and 94 naval ships around Taiwan so far this month. Since September 2020, China has amplified its use of grey zone tactics by incrementally increasing the number of military aircraft and naval ships operating around Taiwan.