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China threatens ‘resolute countermeasures’ if McCarthy meets with Taiwanese president

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Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks before departing on an overseas trip at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan.

In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks before departing on an overseas trip at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, March 29, 2023. China has threatened “resolute countermeasures” over a planned meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during an upcoming visit in Los Angeles by the head of the self-governing island democracy.

Taiwan Presidential Office via Associated Press

China threatened that it would take “resolute countermeasures” if U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as planned next week.

The House Speaker and Taiwanese president are scheduled to meet in Los Angeles next week as the last stop in Tsai’s 10-day trip to the Americas, The Associated Press reported.

The Taiwanese president’s first stop will be in New York on Wednesday, after which she will visit Guatemala and Belize. She will then return to the U.S. for a final stop in Los Angeles, where she plans on meeting with McCarthy.

Tsai spoke with reporters before leaving Taiwan Wednesday, explaining the purpose behind her trip:

“I want to tell the whole world democratic Taiwan will resolutely safeguard the values of freedom and democracy, and will continue to be a force for good in the world, continuing a cycle of goodness, strengthening the resilience of democracy in the world,” Tsai stated, per the AP. “External pressure will not obstruct our resolution to engage with the world.”

Why China threatened retaliation if McCarthy meets with Taiwan’s president

Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, spoke out against the planned meeting in a press briefing on Wednesday, according to NBC News:

“If she makes contact with U.S. House Speaker McCarthy, it will be another provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and undermines peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” 

“We firmly oppose this and will take resolute countermeasures,” Zhu said.

U.S. reaction to China’s threat

Meanwhile, the United States emphasized that Tsai’s visit is a routine transit.

A senior administration official anonymously told reporters that “there’s absolutely no reason for Beijing to use this upcoming transit as an excuse or a pretext to carry out aggressive or coercive activities aimed at Taiwan,” The Washington Post reported.