US Anticipates Fierce Response From CCP Over Taiwanese President Visit

(Photo by Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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China has vowed serious consequences if Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen meets with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California next week.

The Biden administration is bracing for a loud reaction from Beijing in the event the meeting, reportedly scheduled for April 5 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. The Chinese Communist Party has made its stance clear, threatening “resolute countermeasures” if the meeting takes place.

Tsai is not technically visiting the United States — she’s transiting on her way to and from Latin America, stopping first in New York this week before coming to California on her way back next week. That’s business as usual for top Taiwanese officials meeting with American counterparts in the States, which maintains “unofficial” relations with the island.

McCarthy was rumored to be planning a visit to Taiwan himself to meet Tsai weeks ago, which was apparently called off at the request of Taipei due to concerns about an aggressive Chinese reaction. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August, prompting aggressive Chinese military exercises around Taiwan.

Pelosi’s visit was against the wishes of President Joe Biden, but the administration has taken a hands-off approach to the McCarthy meeting. The State Department has repeatedly stated that Congressional meetings are the business of the members of Congress when asked about a potential sit-down between the speaker and Tsai.

On the first U.S. stop of her “transit” in New York, Tsai remarked that the relationship between Washington and Taipei is “closer than ever.” The importance of support for Taiwan has been increasingly emphasized since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Some observers have compared the plight of Ukraine, facing constant pressure from a regional power neighbor, to that of Taiwan, and argued that a failure by the West to protect Ukraine could embolden the CCP to invade the island. (RELATED: Influential Policy Experts Send Message To Biden: Cut A Deal In Ukraine To Focus On Taiwan)

In the face of a potential fit from Beijing if the meeting goes forward, the State Department has said that it is China, not Washington, that is threatening to change the “status quo.” The Biden administration says it maintains the same “one China” policy the U.S. has upheld for years, despite Biden himself confirming on multiple occasions he would use military force to protect Taiwan from an invasion.