Taipei: Taiwan defended President Tsai Ing-wen’s plan to meet with US lawmakers led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday in California, as China vowed to take “resolute measures” in response.
“It’s the right of 23 million Taiwanese to have exchanges with democratic countries,” Taiwanese Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan said in a statement Monday. “There is no room for China to comment.”
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.Credit:AP
McCarthy, a California Republican, confirmed in a statement Monday that the expected meeting with a bipartisan group of US lawmakers will take place at the Reagan Presidential Library in southern California as Tsai passes through the state at the end of a trip that took her to New York, Guatemala and Belize.
“China will take resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Mao Ning, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said in Beijing on Monday when asked if military drills would be an option to retaliate against the meeting.
In New York last week, Tsai met with House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, according to a person familiar with the encounter.
Although China lodged a protest over Tsai’s stops in the US, several people familiar with the matter say they believe China’s response may be more muted than was its response to the visit to Taiwan last year by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations, said Tsai scrapped some events and limited her press engagements, which were seen as most likely to enrage Beijing.
“We’ve certainly seen some rhetoric coming out of Beijing with respect to President Tsai Ing-wen’s transit,” John Kirby, spokesman for the US National Security Council, told reporters Monday. He said Tsai and “every other previous president of Taiwan has transited the United States, so there’s nothing uncommon here. There’s nothing atypical about it and there’s no reason for the Chinese to overreact.”
Addressing the parliament in Belize on Monday, Tsai said “the people of Taiwan face constant threats and pressure from the neighbour on the other side of the Taiwan Strait”.
“While Taiwan’s relationships with democracies around the world have grown stronger in recent years, we continue to be excluded from participating in international organisations and serving as a productive member of the international community,” she said.
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