After weeks of speculation, Gov. Mark Gordon’s office announced on Tuesday that the president of Taiwan will not be visiting Cheyenne this summer.
In a joint statement Tuesday from Gordon’s office and the Taiwanese delegation, both declared that while the two valued their relationship, a visit to Cheyenne Frontier Days — first floated as a possibility back in May — was now off the table due to “heavy logistics concerns,” the statement read.
A spokesman with Gordon’s office said the decision was made in Taipei and that he was unaware of specific reasons for the decision beyond what was outlined in the statement.
Taiwan and Wyoming had developed a strong relationship during the course of former Gov. Matt Mead’s administration, culminating in the establishment of a state trade office in the capital city of Taipei last year.
However, the relationship with Taiwan has created some awkwardness in Wyoming lately.
Last month, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr — who initiated early talks with the Taiwanese government about President Tsai Ing-wen visiting Cheyenne Frontier Days — butted heads with the governor in a heated closed-door meeting about the visit, where the governor reportedly expressed reservations about potentially upsetting relations with China, whose relationship with Taiwan has been strained for decades.
Optimism for a potential visit was high several weeks ago, however. In a conference call with reporters, Gordon said a visit to Cheyenne remained a definite possibility, and Orr told the Star-Tribune she had confidence that a visit by the Taiwanese was close to happening.
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In a text message Tuesday morning, Orr avoided specific comment on the visit, offering a forward-looking statement on furthering the city’s relationship with Taiwan at a banquet in Denver later this month.
“I look forward to welcoming the President of Taiwan to Cheyenne in the future,” she wrote. “In the meantime, I’ve been invited to a dinner with the President of Taiwan this month in Colorado, and look forward to seeing her and strengthening the ties between Cheyenne and our sister city of Tai-Chung.”
The banquet is set to take place July 19 — a day before her anticipated visit to Cheyenne was supposed to take place.
A future visit by Tsai is not off the table, however, and according to the statement, Gordon had also been invited to visit Taiwan in the second half of the year to “pursue opportunities around beef, blockchain and clean-power technologies.”
No plans have been confirmed at this point, a spokesman for Gordon said.
“There’s a strong likelihood the Governor will visit Taiwan later this year,” Gordon’s communications director, Michael Pearlman, wrote in an email.