Taiwan’s President will make a transit stop in the US where she is expected to meet with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on her way back from a trip to Latin America.
China warned the US on Wednesday that a meeting between US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during the latter’s transit visit to the United States next month will be viewed as a “provocation” that will require retaliatory measures from Beijing.
Tsai is set to start a trip to Guatemala and Belize on Wednesday, during which she will make a transit stop in New York on her way to Central America and in Los Angeles, on her way back, where she is expected to meet with McCarthy.
Beijing accused Taiwan’s leader of having preplanned the meeting with the Speaker.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters in Beijing that Tsai’s “transits” of the United States were not just her waiting at the airport or hotel, but for her to meet US officials and lawmakers.
“If she has contact with U.S. House Speaker McCarthy, it will be another provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, harms China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Fenglian said.
“We firmly oppose this and will definitely take measures to resolutely fight back,” the spokesperson added.
However, a senior US official said China must not “overreact” to Tsai’s en-route stop in the country and use her trip to the United States as a “pretext” for “coercing the island.”
“There’s absolutely no reason for China to use that as a pretext to overreact or to engage in further coercion directed at Taiwan,” he told reporters on condition of anonymity, AFP reported.
“We’re going to carry out a transit that is fully consistent with that policy and decades’ worth of practice,” the official stated, adding that Beijing “will not pressure the US government to alter our longstanding practice” on such trips.
It is worth noting that last week, Taiwan recalled its ambassador to Honduras over a visit by Tegucigalpa’s Foreign Minister to China.
Taipei’s government said in a statement that “Honduras ignored more than 80 years of friendship between (Taiwan and Honduras) when they sent their foreign minister to China, which has seriously damaged the feelings of our government and people,” adding that Taiwan “decided to immediately recall our ambassador in Honduras to express our strong dissatisfaction.”
Tensions rose between China and Washington following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in August 2022. China considers Taiwan part of its mainland and opposes any direct official foreign contact with the island.
China announced last year that it will firmly fight against “Taiwan’s independence” and promote reunification of the island with the homeland.
A government report stressed that China plans to “steadfastly implement the [Chinese Commuist] Party’s overall strategy to resolve the Taiwan issue in the new era, firmly uphold the one-China principle and abide by the 1992 consensus.”