Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met in California on the 5th (local time) amid fierce opposition from China.
According to AFP, Chairman McCarthy met and shook hands with President Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library located in Simi Valley near Los Angeles, California.
When President Tsai arrived, pro-China and pro-Taiman protesters gathered nearby and shouted fierce slogans.
“We will continue to seek ways for the United States and Taiwan to work together for freedom, democracy, peace and stability,” McCarthy told Tsai.
This is the first time that Taiwan’s president has met in the United States with the Speaker of the House, who ranks third in the United States. Chairman McCarthy is the highest-ranking official who has met Taiwan’s president on US soil since 1979.
The meeting between the two took place amid China’s sharp warning.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Maoning reiterated at a regular briefing the day before, “China strongly opposes the US arranging for Tsai Ing-wen to transit through the US, and strongly opposes his meeting with Chairman McCarthy, the third-ranked US leader.”
Spokesman Mao argued that the meeting between the two men violated the “One China” principle and the three Sino-US Joint Statements, and seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China’s armed protests over Taiwan continue.
Chinese state media reported that a vessel operated by the Fujian Provincial Maritime Safety Bureau was patrolling the central and northern Taiwan Strait. In addition, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense announced that it had detected 14 military aircraft and three warships belonging to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the airspace and waters around Taiwan from 6:00 am the previous day to 6:00 am this day.
On the 31st of last month, a total of nine Chinese military aircraft passed through the center line of the Taiwan Strait, and the People’s Liberation Army conducted intensive military exercises in the East China Sea.
The US was wary of China’s overreaction.
US Secretary of State Tony Blincoln told reporters after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO · NATO) foreign ministers meeting held in Brussels, Belgium that day, “The transit of Taiwanese high-ranking officials such as President Tsai is not new,” and “China is nervous about this transit. It should not be used as an excuse to escalate the situation and change the status quo.”
Initially, Chairman McCarthy planned to visit Taiwan in person, but conscious of China’s opposition, he changed his direction to meet President Tsai in the United States. In August of last year, when then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan amid strong opposition from China, China strengthened its encirclement military drills and conducted live ammunition drills.
Former Taiwanese presidents, including President Tsai, usually set foot on US soil by passing through the US for a day or two while visiting other countries. The US government has avoided meeting with Taiwanese officials in Washington, conscious of a backlash from China.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.