(CNN) Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met in California on Wednesday in a sign of democratic unity despite China’s threats.
Tsai meets with McCarthy and bipartisan US lawmakers at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. It was Tsai’s second meeting with a US lawmaker of that rank within a year. A visit from then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to do Taiwan In the month of August. Tsai is also the first Taiwanese president to meet a US president on US soil.
“I am honored to welcome the President of Taiwan to the Reagan Library,” McCarthy said. “I’m very grateful to hear her perspective as we move forward.”
“I am optimistic that we will continue to find ways for the people of the United States and Taiwan to work together and promote economic freedom, democracy, peace and stability,” McCarthy said.
Ahead of the meeting between Tsai and McCarthy, China sent several naval vessels near the coast of Taiwan. On Wednesday night local time, Beijing sent a “large-scale patrol and rescue vessel” to the central and northern Taiwan Strait for a three-day “joint patrol and inspection” operation, China’s Fujian Maritime Safety Administration said in a statement.
A Pentagon spokesman told reporters Wednesday that the Defense Department has not sent any additional assets to the Indo-Pacific region to prepare for any aggressive response from China.
In response to Pelosi’s visit last summer, Beijing conducted extensive military exercises around the democratic, self-governing island and suspended most communications with Washington. Takes place in America.
Chai’s delegation’s planned stop in California follows official visits to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies Guatemala and Belize — part of a 10-day tour to boost Taipei’s foreign relations amid growing pressure from Beijing.
China’s consulate in Los Angeles condemned the expected meeting with McCarthy as “not conducive to regional peace, security and stability,” warning that it would “undermine the political foundation” of Sino-US relations.
“We will closely follow the development of the situation and firmly protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the embassy said in a statement Monday — one of several condemnations from Chinese officials in recent weeks as reports of the meeting emerged.
China’s Communist Party, although it has never controlled the self-governing democracy, claims it as its own and has vowed to seize the island by force if necessary.
When Tsai left for her international tour late last month, she told reporters that it was “external pressure”. Taiwan is unstoppable From connecting with the world and like-minded democracies.
The island’s foreign ministry on Tuesday called Chinese criticism of his visit “increasingly absurd and unjustified”.
“Taiwan will not back down, and friends in the US who support Taiwan and Taiwan-US relations will not back down either. The democratic partners will remain united and exchange more frequently,” the statement said.
A pivotal moment for McCarthy and Tsai
The meeting gives both Tsai and McCarthy an important platform to highlight US-Taiwan relations.
“For President Tsai, a face-to-face meeting with Speaker McCarthy will demonstrate US bipartisan support for Taiwan,” said Bonnie Lin, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“Speaker McCarthy will use this meeting to demonstrate that the United States stands with Taiwan and is prepared to push back against (China’s) efforts to pressure, coerce and isolate the island internationally,” Lin said.
A source close to McCarthy told CNN that the meeting was an important moment for the speaker, who has made the creation of a task force on China one of his top priorities and views the U.S. relationship with China as a central issue of our time.
According to a copy of the invitation list obtained by CNN, Wednesday’s meeting is expected to include Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, a member of the Democratic Party leadership, and the leaders of China’s new select committee.
The shutdowns in the U.S. last week include traffic in New York amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.
The two powers have struggled to stabilize their relationship amid issues ranging from technological security to America’s suspected Chinese surveillance balloon.
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries released a statement Wednesday saying he met Tsai last week while passing through New York City.
“We had a very productive conversation about the mutual security and economic interests between the United States and Taiwan. We discussed our shared commitment to democracy and freedom,” Jeffries said in a statement.
Tsai met with three US senators in New York last week. Republican Sens. Joni Ernst and Don Sullivan and Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly met the tilt, according to sources familiar with the meeting. The Wall Street Journal first reported the meetings.
Last week Beijing’s top diplomat in the United States threatened that the presence of tilt in American cities could lead to this. “Serious” conflict in a relationship.
“Beijing may feel it needs to escalate because this will be another US speaker’s meeting with Tsai within a year of the previous meeting. China is trying to prevent the US from normalizing such meetings and ensure that its actions remain robust. Both the US and Taiwan are concerned about how China opposes such moves. It’s painful to understand,” Lin said.
Other analysts, however, pointed to factors such as the location of the meeting and its timing in the US — which China prefers Revamp its diplomacy China will take — months ahead of — a post-presidential election pandemic in Taiwan that could reset the tone of its relationship with Beijing. A less invasive response Compared to last year.
The White House is Refuses to say Does it support the planned meeting between McCarthy and the Taiwanese president?
The United States maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan. As such, Chai’s transit in the country was not an official visit, in order to align Washington with its long-standing “one China” policy.
Under the policy, the United States recognizes China’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but does not officially recognize Beijing’s claim to the 23 million island and is bound by law to provide the democratic island with the means to defend itself.
Congress has been a key pillar of that unofficial relationship, with delegations of lawmakers visiting the island in recent years to bolster support or coordination in the face of growing military, economic and diplomatic pressure from Beijing.
This story and title have been updated to reflect additional developments.
CNN’s Beijing bureau, Wayne Chang in Hong Kong, Larry Register in Atlanta and Lauren Fox in Washington contributed to this report.