Washington – House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul is in Taipei for meetings with officials, including Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, just hours after Tsai spoke with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
“We are confronting a generational threat from the Chinese Communist Party, and the Indo-Pacific theater is our first line of defense against their encroachment. That’s why now, more than ever, it’s critical the United States strengthen relationships with our allies and partners in the region,” said McCaul, who is traveling with a bipartisan delegation of seven lawmakers.
The delegation is also set to meet with Taiwanese business leaders and officials to discuss ways to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. Lawmakers are expected to meet with Tsai on Saturday.
US House Speaker McCarthy Praises Taiwan Leader as ‘Great Friend to America’
The meeting between Tsai and McCarthy, along with as many as 18 other U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, drew criticism from China, which considers the island a part of the country.
“The U.S. colluded with Taiwan authorities and connived at attempts by separatists seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ to carry out political activities on U.S. soil, engage in official interaction between the United States and Taiwan, and elevate the substantive relations between the United States and Taiwan,” Mao Ning, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said Thursday.
“China will take resolute and measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said.
US Lawmakers Push Back Against Chinese Warnings on Meeting Taiwan’s President
According to its “One China” principle, China considers the issue of Taiwanese sovereignty an internal matter and holds that China has sovereignty over the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Under the U.S. “One China” policy, Washington recognizes Beijing as the sole legal government of China. However, the U.S. does not recognize Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan and has never agreed to refrain from meeting with Taiwanese leaders.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries met with Tsai as she transited through New York last week. In a statement noting that the meeting did not deviate from the long-standing unofficial relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, Jeffries said, “We had a very productive conversation about the mutual security and economic interests between America and Taiwan. We also discussed our shared commitment to democracy and freedom.”
Last year, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and a delegation of five House Democrats visited Taiwan for meetings with Taiwanese officials. The visit increased tensions in the region as China launched military exercises in the area around Taiwan and suspended or canceled some lines of military cooperation with the United States.
In addition to a three-day trip to Taiwan, McCaul and the delegation have also visited Japan and South Korea.