Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te, the ruling party’s candidate in January’s presidential election, will stop in the United States on his way to and from Paraguay — a key trip that will test his skill to both reassure Washington of his status-quo policies and signal to Beijing that he has the confidence of the U.S.

Lai, currently the front-runner in the presidential race, is set to stop in New York on Saturday and Sunday on his way to the South American country, and in San Francisco on Aug. 16 to 17 on his way back to Taiwan.

Taipei has yet to provide details about who the 63-year-old Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker will meet in the U.S., but analysts have pointed out that his list of activities will likely be released closer to the visit to minimize the risk of disruption by China.