China threatens retaliation if US House speaker meets Taiwan president

BEIJING/TAIPEI: China threatened to retaliate on Wednesday if United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during his planned transit through the United States next month, saying such a move would be a “provocation”.
China, which claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, has repeatedly warned US officials not to meet with Tsai, seeing him as support for the island’s desire to be considered a separate country.
China held war games around Taiwan last August when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, and Taiwan’s armed forces said they were monitoring any Chinese movement when Tsai is abroad.
Tsai is due to leave on Wednesday for a trip to Guatemala and Belize that will see her transit through New York and Los Angeles. Although not officially confirmed, she is expected to meet McCarthy in California at the end of her trip.
Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Chinese Office of Taiwan Affairs, told reporters in Beijing that Tsai’s “transits” through the United States were not just her waiting at the airport or hotel, but that she was meeting with US officials and lawmakers.
“If she comes into contact with US House Speaker McCarthy, it will be another provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” she said.
“We strongly oppose it and will certainly take steps to resolutely retaliate,” Zhu added, without giving details.
The United States says such transits by Taiwanese presidents are common and that China should not use Tsai’s trip to take aggressive action against Taiwan.
Taiwanese presidents regularly pass through the United States when visiting diplomatic allies in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which, although not official visits, are often used by both sides for meetings. high level.
China claims that it and Taiwan belong to “one China” and that as a Chinese province, the island has no right to state-to-state ties.
The Taiwanese government strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims, and while Tsai has repeatedly offered talks with Beijing, she has also said that only the Taiwanese people can decide their future.
Tsai is expected to make comments at the airport before her flight to New York departs.


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