Taipei — Vowing that "no one can obliterate Taiwan’s existence", the country’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, left on Sunday for the US and two of its remaining diplomatic allies, amid pressure from China to try to stamp out references to the island globally. China, which claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own, has stepped up a campaign against the island as it tries to assert Chinese sovereignty. Beijing has ordered foreign companies to label Taiwan as part of China and is excluding Taiwan from as many international forums as it can. China has also been whittling down the number of countries that recognise Taiwan — now 18 — with Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic switching relations to Beijing in 2018. Speaking before her flight to Los Angeles, where she will spend one night prior to visiting Belize and Paraguay, Tsai struck a defiant tone.

"In going abroad, the whole world can see Taiwan; they can see our country as well as our support for democracy and freedom. W...

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