Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to meet Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy in California next month.
China has threatened to ‘resolutely retaliate’ if US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during her planned transit by United States.
Wednesday’s warning came as Tsai was set to leave for a trip to Guatemala and Belize, which will see her transit through New York and California in the United States.
Although not officially confirmed, it should meet McCarthy in Californiaat the end of his 10 day trip.
China, which claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, has repeatedly warned US officials not to meet with Tsai, seeing him as support for the island’s desire to be considered a separate country.
Beijing staged war games around taiwan last August, when the then Speaker of the United States House Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taipei. Taiwan’s armed forces said they monitor any Chinese movement when Tsai is overseas.
Zhu Fenglian, spokesman for the Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters in Beijing that Tsai’s “transits” to the United States were not just her waiting at the airport or hotel, but that she was meeting with US officials and lawmakers.
“If she comes into contact with US President McCarthy, it will be another provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” she said.
“We strongly oppose it and will certainly take steps to resolutely retaliate,” Zhu added, without giving details.
The United States says such transits by Taiwanese presidents are common and that China should not use Tsai’s trip to take aggressive action against Taiwan.
Taiwanese presidents regularly pass through the United States when visiting diplomatic allies in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which, although not official visits, are often used by both sides for high-level meetings.
China and Taiwan belong to “one China”, says Beijing, and that as a Chinese province, Taiwan is not entitled to any kind of state-to-state ties.
The Taiwanese government strongly rejects China’s claims of sovereignty, and while Tsai has repeatedly offered talks with Beijing, she has also said only the islanders can decide their future.
The Taiwanese president is expected to deliver a speech in New York organized by the Hudson Institute, a conservative American think tank, on March 30 en route to Latin America, then again at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on her return to Asia. in April. .
She has visited the United States four times since taking office in 2016, during which time she met Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, with each trip becoming more formal than the last.
“Such visits are a reaffirmation of U.S. support for Taiwan at a time when critics of the Tsai administration – and the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] — strive to cast doubt on the reliability and commitment of the United States as a partner of Taiwan,” J Michael Cole, an adviser to the Taipei-based International Republican Institute, told Al Jazeera.