Former British PM Truss to visit Taiwan next week

Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss is to visit Taiwan next week.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that during her stay from May 16 to 20, Truss will hold talks with senior officials and give a speech on May 17 at an event in Taipei hosted by a think tank.

Her office says she is scheduled to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Truss said in a statement that "Taiwan is a beacon of freedom and democracy. I'm looking forward to showing solidarity with the Taiwanese people in person in the face of increasingly aggressive behavior and rhetoric from the regime in Beijing."

She will be the first former British prime minister to visit Taiwan since Margaret Thatcher in 1996.

Known for her hardline views on China, Truss has visited Japan and the United States after stepping down last October and called on them to take a tough stance toward Beijing.

Her successor Rishi Sunak plans to continue engaging with China while urging policy changes in such fields as maritime activities and human rights.

Analysts say Truss's visit to Taiwan could cause tensions between Britain and China.