House Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing–wen in Southern California on Wednesday was a show of unwavering support for Taiwan and an example of bipartisan cooperation on China amid worsening Beijing–Washington tensions.
McCarthy and Tsai met at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a fitting tribute to the Reagan administration which was instrumental in securing assurances between the United States and Taiwan in 1982.
The friendship between America and the people of Taiwan has never been stronger. It is my honor to welcome President @iingwen to the @Reagan_Library. pic.twitter.com/2XSIJRv7Vp
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) April 5, 2023
McCarthy praised the bipartisan approach to Taiwan and China, crediting Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the top Democrat in the House who met with Tsai last month in New York, and other Democrats for their ongoing work on the China committee.
“I believe our bond is stronger now than at any time or point in my lifetime and of course, President Tsai is a great champion of that bond,” McCarthy said after the meeting.
Tsai said the U.S.’s continued support assures “the people of Taiwan that we are not isolated and we are not alone,” but added that democracy in Taiwan is once again under threat.
“We once again find ourselves in a world where democracy is under threat and the urgency of keeping the beacon of freedom shining cannot be understated,” she said.
The meeting occurred despite threats of retaliation from China, which views the exchange as a show of support for Taiwan’s independence and views Taiwan as a part of its territory. Chinese officials have criticized the sit–down as a “provocation” and a violation of the one–China principle, under which Washington recognizes Beijing as the sole legitimate government of China while maintaining unofficial relations with Taipei.
The White House said that visits by high–level Taiwanese officials are routine and that China should not use Tsai’s travel through the U.S. as a “pretext” for greater aggression against Taiwan.
The meeting was a win–win–win for China, Taiwan, and the U.S., with McCarthy showing respect for Taiwan by not following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Nancy Pelosi and traveling to Taiwan, and still being able to show he met with the Taiwanese president.