RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will visit Taiwan, Japan and South Korea later this month for his first overseas trade mission, a trip that includes a meeting with the President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen.
Youngkin and the Virginia delegation will make stops in Taipei City, Taiwan, Tokyo, Japan, and Seoul, South Korea, from April 24 through April 29, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.
The six-day trip, Youngkin’s first trip to Asia as governor, will focus on economic development opportunities, national security and “our shared priorities,” his office said. A spokeswoman for Youngkin told 8News she did not have details on who would be joining the governor.
Youngkin plans to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, government officials, executives, global industry leaders and strategic business associations as part of the trade mission.
“Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea represent critical markets that will advance economic growth and prosperity in Virginia,” Youngkin said in a statement. “In strengthening these relationships, we are not only reaffirming our commitment to our allies but also strengthening the spirit of Virginia and America.”
The trip’s announcement comes after Youngkin took aim at China — which considers Taiwan a territory and views visits between U.S. and Taiwanese officials as challenges to its claim of sovereignty over the island — with a series of moves.
The governor pulled Virginia from consideration for a new Ford Motor Co. electric vehicle battery plant and backed legislative efforts to ban China from buying state farmland.
Youngkin described the Ford plant project as a “front” for the Chinese Communist Party that would impact national security and Virginia taxpayers, claims that led critics to accuse him of trying to boost his national profile amid speculation of a 2024 presidential run over trying to help bring 2,500 jobs to Pittsylvania County.
The announcement also comes as President Tsai Ing-wen wraps up a tour with the island’s allies. She will meet with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday.
When McCarthy’s predecessor, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, visited Taiwan last August the Chinese government responded by sending warships and fighter jets near the island and conducting live-fire drills.
According to the governor’s office, Virginia has five Taiwanese-owned business establishments, 133 from Japan and 25 from South Korea.