When asked about China’s opposition to his meeting this week with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R, Calif.) said he won’t let the Communist regime tell him whom he can speak to.
“I’m the speaker of the House,” McCarthy said. “There is no place that China’s going to tell me where I can go or who I can speak to.”
McCarthy met with Tsai on Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Tsai said America’s “unwavering support reassures the people of Taiwan” amid increasing tensions from China, which expressed anger over the pair’s in-person meeting.
China last week said it “firmly opposes and strongly condemns” Tsai’s visit, which it sees as an affront to its claims of control over the island nation. It promised “resolute and forceful measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Another statement from China’s foreign ministry called the meeting “U.S.-Taiwan collusion.”
China has slammed past meetings between American and Taiwanese leaders. After then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) visited last August, China conducted its largest live-fire drills in decades and shot a missile over Taiwan.
In private discussions, the two talked about Taiwan’s self-defense, trade, and economic ties between Tsai’s country and the world, the Taiwanese president said.
The leaders steered clear of making hard declarations on issues such as a tougher stance on China or a U.S. military commitment to defend Taiwan from invasion.
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