Beijing particularly dislikes Lai, who has in the past described himself as a “practical worker for Taiwan independence”. Lai has, however, repeatedly said during the election campaign he does not seek to change the status quo.
Lai, who goes first to New York, published a short video on his social media accounts late on Friday about his trip, mentioning only the Paraguay part, the country being one of just 13 to maintain formal ties with Taipei.
He showed off what he will be taking with him, including the gift of a Garmin solar-powered GPS bike computer for Paraguay’s new president, Santiago Pena, as well as neck cushions and baggage tags emblazoned with words including “Team Taiwan” in English and “Taiwan, your backer” in Chinese.
“I hope, by serving as President Tsai Ing-wen’s special envoy to Paraguay to participate in the inauguration ceremony of the new president, to convey the blessings of the people of Taiwan,” he said.
Neither Taiwan nor the United States have given exact details about his US schedule.