House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reportedly wants to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as she travels through the United States on her way to Central America in April.
According to reporting by Reuters, Tsai has been invited to meet McCarthy at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. This meeting might replace the speaker’s future plans to visit Taiwan, which have raised some concerns.
When Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan as house speaker last August, Beijing reacted by deploying its warships and fighter jets to the area and launching rockets around the island, as The Dallas Express reported. Since then, hostilities have only amplified.
Breaking what had been a longstanding policy of “strategic ambiguity,” last September President Joe Biden explicitly said, per Reuters, that the U.S. would protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
Despite not having official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, over which China has a long-standing claim, the U.S. has grown closer to its leaders through various arms deals and troop deployments.
Chinese officials view these kinds of partnerships and engagements between the U.S. and Taiwan as a violation of their sovereignty and a threat to stability in the region.
McCarthy had expressed interest in visiting Taiwan before becoming a speaker. When he secured the position in January, he received a warning from China to not visit Taiwan, according to Fox News.
Neither the Reagan Library nor McCarthy gave comment to Reuters on the claims that he plans to meet with Tsai.
Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington, D.C., told Reuters that it had “no information to share” and that “arrangements for President Tsai’s visits to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and transits through the United States are carried out in line with the usual practice.”