China threatens retaliation if Tsai and McCarthy meet

China threatens retaliation if Tsai and McCarthy meet

BEIJING — China has threatened “resolute countermeasures” over a planned meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during an upcoming visit in Los Angeles by the head of the self-governing island.

Diplomatic pressure against Taiwan has ramped up recently, with Beijing poaching its dwindling number of diplomatic allies while also sending military fighter jets flying toward the island on a near daily basis. Earlier this month, Honduras established diplomatic relations with China, leaving Taiwan with only 13 countries that recognize it as a sovereign state.

Tsai is scheduled to transit through New York on Thursday, March 30, 2023, before heading to Guatemala and Belize.

On April 5, she’s expected to stop in Los Angeles on her way back to Taiwan, at which time the meeting with McCarthy is tentatively scheduled.

Spokesperson for the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office Zhu Fenglian at a news conference Wednesday, March 29, denounced Tsai’s stopover on her way to diplomatic allies in Central America and demanded that no US officials meet with her.

“We firmly oppose this and will take resolute countermeasures,” Zhu said. The US should “refrain from arranging Tsai Ing-wen’s transit visits and even contact with American officials and take concrete actions to fulfill its solemn commitment not to support Taiwan independence,” she said.

Transit visits through the United States during broader international travel by the Taiwanese president have been routine over the years, senior US officials in Washington and Beijing have underscored to their Chinese counterparts.

However, the planned meeting with McCarthy has triggered fears of a heavy-handed Chinese reaction amid heightened frictions between Beijing and Washington over US support for Taiwan, trade and human rights issues.

Following a visit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in 2022, Beijing launched missiles over the area, deployed warships across the median line of the Taiwan Strait and carried out military exercises in a simulated blockade of the island. Beijing also suspended climate talks with the US and restricted military-to-military communication with the Pentagon. (AP)


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