Report: McCarthy will meet Tsai in California

House speaker says planned meeting on US soil doesn’t preclude a future trip to Taiwan.
Radio Free Asia
2023.03.08
Report: McCarthy will meet Tsai in California House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks to the media, Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at the Capitol in Washington
Associated Press

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has confirmed he will meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen when she visits the United States in coming weeks, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The planned meeting, first reported by the Financial Times a day prior, would take place in McCarthy’s home state of California with the Taiwanese president en route to visit a number of the self-governing island’s allies in Central America.

McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday night that the meeting did not mean his plans to lead a congressional delegation to Taiwan later this year had been called off, according to the Bloomberg report.

“That has nothing to do with my travel, if I would go to Taiwan,” McCarthy was quoted as saying, rejecting reports that the pair were trying to avoid angering Beijing during a tense moment in U.S.-China relations. “China can’t tell me where and when I can go,” he said. 

McCarthy’s office has not responded to requests for comment from Radio Free Asia about his plans to meet with Tsai.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in August caused a rupture in relations between China and the United States, due to Beijing’s claims that the democratic island is its territory. 

The relationship appeared on the mend, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken scheduled to visit Beijing last month. But that trip was “postponed” at the last minute after U.S. authorities discovered what they said was a Chinese spy balloon in American airspace.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Wednesday that Beijing was “gravely concerned” about any meeting between McCarthy and Tsai and had reached out to U.S. officials.

“Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People’s Republic of China,” Mao said at a press conference. “I need to stress that China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the U.S. and the Taiwan region, firmly opposes any visit by ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist leaders to the U.S. in any name under whatever pretext.”

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