China has warned of retaliation if US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen during her upcoming trip through Los Angeles. Tsai’s tour of the Americas is intended to demonstrate Taiwan’s commitment to democratic values on the world stage. However, the planned meeting has raised fears of a heavy-handed Chinese response due to heightened tension between Beijing and Washington over US support for Taiwan and trade and human rights issues.
China regards self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened to use force if necessary to bring the island under its control. 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 conducted military exercises simulating a blockade of the island. Beijing also suspended climate talks with the US and restricted military-to-military communication with the Pentagon.
Officials from the US administration have stated that Tsai’s previous stopovers in the US have included meetings with members of Congress and members of the Taiwanese diaspora. The officials also expect Tsai to meet with the American Institute in Taiwan chair, Laura Rosenberger. The American Institute in Taiwan is a US government-run non-profit that carries out unofficial relations with Taiwan.
The planned meeting between McCarthy and Tsai has put further strain on already tense US-China relations. In recent months, the two countries have been at odds over trade and human rights issues, with the US criticizing China’s treatment of ethnic minorities and Hong Kong’s autonomy. The US has also expressed support for Taiwan, which China regards as a domestic issue.
China has warned the US against interfering in what it considers internal affairs and has taken steps to assert its territorial claims, including conducting military exercises near Taiwan and increasing its military presence in the region. Some analysts fear that a miscalculation or miscommunication could lead to a conflict between the US and China over Taiwan, which could have significant consequences for the global economy and security.
The situation remains tense as Tsai’s trip continues. Many are watching closely to see how China responds to the meeting between McCarthy and Tsai, and whether it will take any further action to assert its claims over Taiwan. The US, for its part, has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Taiwan’s democracy and maintaining peace and stability in the region.