Kevin McCarthy

U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) holds a town hall meeting at the Fox Theater on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Bakersfield, California.

(Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Chinese Official Warns McCarthy Meeting With Taiwanese President Would Be 'Provocation'

A potential visit with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen "seriously violates the One China principle, harms China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," said one official.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office on Wednesday warned the U.S. that the country will take "resolute countermeasures" if an expected meeting between U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen goes forward this month following Tsai's trip to Central America.

The Taiwanese president is expected to meet with the California Republican in Los Angeles, going against repeated calls from China for the U.S. to refrain from meeting with her, which the Chinese government sees as a sign of support for Taiwan's desire to be seen as a separate country, and a failure to commit to the "One China" policy the U.S. agreed to five decades ago.

The meeting would be the highest-level in-person summit between a Taiwanese and American leader on U.S. soil since 1979.

The U.S. should "refrain from arranging Tsai Ing-wen's transit visits and even contact with American officials, and take concrete actions to fulfill its solemn commitment not to support Taiwan independence," said Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office, according toThe Hill.

Tsai has traveled to the U.S. four times since taking office in 2016 and has met with Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas. In addition to her expected meeting with McCarthy in the coming days, Tsai is scheduled to speak at an event hosted by the conservative Hudson Institute in New York and at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Calfornia.

The visit "will be another provocation that seriously violates the One China principle, harms China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," said Zhu, adding, "We firmly oppose this and will take resolute countermeasures."

China responded to then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) visit to Taipei last year by conducting military exercises around Taiwan. China had previously warned that Pelosi's visit represented the U.S. "interfering in China's internal affairs." The country also suspended military, climate, and other diplomatic ties with the U.S. after Pelosi's visit, which anti-war critics had warned would undermine long-standing U.S. policy and [increase] the risk of another war."

McCarthy's expected meeting with Tsai comes as progressives in the U.S. are criticizing proposals for a ban on the Chinese social media app TikTok from the Biden administration as well as Republican lawmakers. China warned the U.S., Australia, and the United Kingdom that they were headed down a "path of error and danger" this month after the three countries announced plans to expand U.S. nuclear submarine technology to Australia, a move that the Chinese said would disrupt peace in the Pacific.

Brian Hioe of the Taiwan-focused New Bloom Magazinetweeted that China will likely "respond with threats of force" if the McCarthy-Tsai meeting goes forward.

A Biden administration official said on a call with reporters Wednesday that "there is absolutely no reason" for Beijing to use Tsai's expected meeting in the U.S. "as an excuse or a pretext to carry out aggressive or coercive activities aimed at Taiwan."

"It is not that China overreacts," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a press briefing. "It is that the U.S. kept emboldening Taiwan independence forces, which is egregious in nature."

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