House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will meet Wednesday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen in a summit that China called a “provocation.”
McCarthy’s office announced Monday that the House leader will host a bipartisan meeting with Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. McCarthy’s announcement did not specify which other members of Congress will attend the meeting. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the minority leader of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Friday that other Republicans could join the meeting, including Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who heads a House select committee on China.
Taiwan is a self-governing island democracy that China claims as its territory. Speaking before her departure last week, Tsai said her government would “neither yield nor provoke.” But ahead of Tsai’s trip to America, the Chinese government said a meeting with McCarthy would be a “provocation” and threatened retaliation.
U.S. officials, by contrast, claim visits and meetings with high-level Taiwanese officials are routine. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last week that Tsai met with U.S. officials and held public appearances in “all previous transits.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the top Democrat in the House, quietly met Thursday with Tsai in New York. A spokesperson for Jeffries declined to comment on the meeting.
Taiwan said last week there was no indication of changes to China’s usual military deployment in the area, which has included sending warplanes toward the island almost daily.