Lazy eyes listen
Despite strong warnings from China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is set to visit the United States this week, with stops in New York and California, where she is expected to meet US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
According to the president’s office, Tsai will leave for the United States on Wednesday as part of a 10-day trip that will also include stops in Belize and Guatemala.
While she has not confirmed any meetings with Rep. McCarthy, Taiwanese officials previously told the Financial Times that she would meet with the Republican lawmaker during her visit to California. According to the outlet, both sides were hesitant to publicize such a meeting in order to avoid infuriating China, which considers Taiwan to be part of its sovereign territory.
On Wednesday, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, slammed the upcoming visit, claiming that Tsai would not only be staying in a hotel, but would also meet with American officials.
“If she contacts US House Speaker McCarthy, it will be yet 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,” she said, adding, “We firmly oppose this and will undoubtedly take measures to resolutely fight back.”
Though the spokesperson did not specify what kind of countermeasures would be taken, a trip by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year elicited a harsh response from Beijing, which launched unprecedented military drills in Taiwan’s airspace and waters in retaliation.
Beijing has repeatedly urged foreign countries not to maintain direct diplomatic contacts with Taiwanese officials, claiming that under the ‘One China’ principle, Taiwan is part of its territory. Although the United States does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state, American lawmakers regularly visit the island for official meetings, and the State Department has approved countless rounds of arms sales to Taipei over the years.
Washington had long maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, but President Joe Biden has largely abandoned that approach, declaring that the US would come to the island’s defense in the event of a Chinese attack – prompting backtracking from his own subordinates at times.